Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Six-hundred free tablets from Falcon’s nest to you

Edward Fernandez
Cortez Hollis striking a pose.

Two-hundred students lined up for free tablets during the Falcon’s Nest pop-up market in the Falcon Square on April 10.

Students paid a one-time $11 activation fee, but the data costs are paid off as long as they continuously use their devices.

The event was a collaboration between the Outreach Program Services of America and the Affordable Connectivity Program as part of a $14.2 billion initiative to bridge the digital divide.

Cortez Hollis, who works with OPSA, noted that not everyone can afford a laptop or an iPad and in a post-COVID world, that could mean an inability to take notes, do homework, attend class or find work. People are being left behind.

“I have made it my duty with OPSA to make sure we get as many college students connected as possible,” Hollis was firm, “Being able to keep connected regardless of where you are increases attendance as well as graduation rates.”

Angelica Profumo, the program assistant for the Basic Needs Center, shared that the event was quickly set up in just two weeks after a former social work intern put her in contact with Hollis.

Just one of the 600 tablets being given away to students on campus. (Edward Fernandez)

“I reached out to him in time because the program ends in April,” Profumo informed.

The ACP, run by the Federal Communications Commission, will exhaust its funding by April or May 2024.

If Congress does not vote to reinstate the ACP, the two-year-old program, which has provided broadband services to 23 million homes, according to Blair Levin of Brookings, will cease to exist.

“I’m kind of struggling. I don’t have a laptop. I don’t have a computer.” kinesiology major, Paul Lee confessed.

Luckily, his counselor sent him an email informing him about the event.

James Castaneda-Cortez, a biology major, was forwarded a similar email by a friend.

Lee and Castaneda-Cortez, along with many others waited over three hours for the distributions to begin.

Biology and business administration majors respectively, Victoria and Jose Hernandez, were anxious to get their tablets.

The line for the Falcon’s Nest tablet giveaway on April 10. (Edward Fernandez)

“We’ve been here just for 30 minutes–an hour, I think–so we’re probably going to be the last ones to receive them.” She realized.

Aside from produce and other types of food, the Falcon’s Nest also offers clothing, gas money, housing support, physical support, mental wellness and even emergency aid, she stated.

Hernandez herself received $500 in emergency aid for a new stove.

To claim a tablet, students scanned a barcode, filled out basic information about themselves, uploaded a photo of their IDs and waited while Profumo, Hollis and a few others unpacked and activated the tablets.

Those with Medi-Cal or EBT cards could cut straight to the front of the line.

Also up for grabs were crates of free fresh produce including radishes, zucchini and lemons.

Several people in line carried bags full of groceries.

The Falcon’s Nest will host a food bank distribution on April 24 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. for both students and community members. Profumo also advises that the Falcon’s Nest Market is open everyday for students. ###


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About the Contributors
Edward Fernandez
Edward Fernandez, Staff Writer
Edward Fernandez is a staff writer for Talon Marks covering arts and entertainment and community news. Aside from reporting, Fernandez enjoys reading and hiking. He hopes to transfer to Cal State Fullerton in the Fall.
Emanuel Guadarrama
Emanuel Guadarrama, Co-News Editor
Emanuel Guadarrama is the returning news editor for Talon Marks, who’ll be covering any and all newsworthy events or stories on campus. When he isn’t working on his news section, he enjoys listening to various genres of music and reading. He also likes going on hikes, walking with his dog and spending time with his friends and family.
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