Arca Continental Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages Donated Laptops through a Partnership with Consulate General of Mexico in San Antonio and IDRA

(San Antonio • November 20, 2020) As students continue to struggle with distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, IDRA delivered computers generously donated by Arca Continental Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages to students in the South San Antonio ISD. Arca Continental delivered the laptops to the Consulate General of Mexico in San Antonio on October 30 to work with IDRA to facilitate distribution to students in an area hard-hit by the digital divide.

“Students of all ages from low-income households without computers or connectivity are most at risk for interruption of their schooling that will have a long-lasting impact on their future and on our communities,” said IDRA President & CEO Celina Moreno. “As a business member of the San Antonio community, Arca Continental Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages is making an immediate impact to help students stay connected with their teachers and classmates during this extremely difficult time so that they can focus on learning.”

IDRA committed to work with the South San Antonio school district to distribute the laptops to students who need them most. IDRA has worked with the district for over 35 years to keep students on the path to graduation.

IDRA has worked over the years with schools and communities to close digital divide for the most vulnerable students. When schools had to close and shift to distance learning, the digital divide went from being a distant concern to a crisis. Access to technology is critical for students to continue their schooling through distance learning, hybrid learning, and even in-person learning.

IDRA’s own surveys and work with schools found that, in many homes, families had no reliable computer or, if they do, multiple students had to share the family’s one computer. Some students could only do their classwork on their cell phones.

San Antonio city, community and business leaders this summer launched an initiative to ensure students in 50 of the city’s low-income neighborhoods have broadband internet access. When schools first closed in March, IDRA immediately responded by developing resources for educators and families to continue student learning, called Learning Goes On – A COVID-19 Resource for Education.

These resources include the Equitable Practices for Online Learning – Free Webinar Series, a bilingual weekly electronic newsletter with resources for schools and families responding to coronavirus (COVID-19), policy updates, and links to important research and resources.

IDRA has been working one-on-one with school districts to meet the needs of their students and families, whether by partnering with community-based organizations to help Spanish-speaking families navigate virtual classrooms or providing IDRA’s popular Semillitas de Aprendizaje bilingual storybooks to families who have no access to online education at all.

“We are especially proud of our partnership with the Consulate General of Mexico in San Antonio to help Mexican and Mexican American families navigate the U.S. education system and learn about important educational opportunities in both countries,” said Ms. Moreno. “Our joint program, called Ventanilla de Orientación Educativa (VOE), provides information on the civil rights of immigrant and English learner students, local educational services, and resources on how to access and succeed in college.”

The Consulate and IDRA launched VOE Virtual, an online portal with bilingual materials and videos for families with information on the civil rights of immigrant and English learner students, local educational services, and resources on how to access and succeed in college.

As schools began to reopen, the VOE continued to connect with San Antonio school districts to provide these resources to families they serve throughout the school year.