The congregation of Rumson Presbyterian Church (RPC), for Mission work, wanted to assist those in the Long Branch community who are struggling to alleviate suffering, and bring hope and wholeness during the COVID pandemic.
Often times people hear they need to come together and in this instance it happened. As Christians at Rumson Presbyterian Church, they are compelled to work toward healing the inequalities in their small way. As children struggle to adapt to virtual and hybrid school schedules, many students are lacking the tools needed to keep up.
The Corona Virus has revealed that there is a “Digital Divide” when it comes to children working from home, many lacking WIFI and computers. All children deserve the opportunity to be educated. This situation could potentially leave many children behind, trying to catch up for years.
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Rumson Presbyterian Church was introduced to an organization in Long Branch, known as the After School Tutorial Educational Programs (ASTEP). The organization works closely with the Long Branch Public School District (LBPSD) and the Local Community, providing tutorial education and experiences after school and during the summer. ASTEP has the support of The Second Baptist Church of Long Branch and The Rumson Presbyterian Church. In addition, most of the volunteers of ASTEP are members of The Second Baptist Church of Long Branch.
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Veronica Buffaloe-Stubbs, the Founder/CEO of A.S.T.E.P Inc. (ASTEP), had a wish list for her students, one of which was for Chromebooks. These devices are the basic requirement for connectivity, from a student’s home to the classroom. Well The Rumson Presbyterian Church had a match! They were looking for a place to help and ASTEP fell into their laps. “God is always speaking to us, sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to pause, look around and to believe in something bigger,” members of The Rumson Presbyterian Church felt.
Rumson Presbyterian Church was able to locate and purchase (127) Chromebooks for ASTEP and the students of the Long Branch Community.
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It truly felt like a miracle for their little church, because worldwide these devices are currently in very short supply, with demand causing major delivery backlogs.
The ASTEP organization in turn, worked closely with the LBPSD and the Community, to identify families in need and arrange for the distribution of the Chromebooks to children so they have the opportunity to connect to their classrooms, teachers and classmates.
Ms Buffaloe-Stubbs hopes that she can find a facility from which she can permanently operate ASTEP. Perhaps there is another miracle coming her way.
This program has provided many students with learning experiences and nurturing that is now in much greater need due to the demands of virtual learning. Please reach out to Veronica if you have a facility or suggestions of a suitable facility for the ASTEP program at ASTEPINC@HOTMAIL.COM.
The Rumson Presbyterian Church congregation experienced the truth that when you give you receive so much more. When they delivered the Chromebooks they were met by Veronica, volunteers from ASTEP, Rev. Aaron Gibson and Rev. John Monroe. They had a deep validation of the truth that Veronica coined, “Unity in the Community”. Choosing to use the power of giving is one of the most important things one can do to transform one’s life and the lives of others.