PATERSON, NJ - As a career educator, Dr. Gemar Mills knows a few things about the importance of access to technology in improving and expanding learning. That’s part of the reason he has, as Executive Director of College Achieve Paterson, made outfitting his students and teachers with laptops and internet a priority.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic unfolded in New Jersey, the charter school was in the midst of rolling out an initiative to distribute technology to students whose homes lack computers or internet access and help bridge the digital divide that exists in many urban communities.

As he told TAPinto Paterson recently, while College Achieve Paterson has succeeded in their endeavor, he wants to make sure that other underprivileged students in the city, and other areas of need, have the same opportunity to succeed.

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From that noble goal, along with Mills’ health regimen that includes running up to 50 miles a month, came the idea of organizing a “Social Distance Run Challenge” that will measure the distance run by individuals and teams between April 19 and May 3, while at the same time raising money that will be used to buy laptops and hotspots for students in need.

In partnership with Zone 6ix, Mills is encouraging runners, or walkers, to download the Nike Run Club App and to clock their miles. Individuals can register for just $10, while teams up to 15 are $20 and teams up to 50 can register for just $30.

The winning teams will both be awarded a photoshoot and pep rally from Zone 6ix while the winning individual will be given the chance to help direct some of the funds raised to the school of their choice for technology upgrades. Also, all will get bragging right, Mills said.

“We know that we have to stay away from each other as much as possible to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our communities,” Mills said. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t come together virtually to help our students in  need make their remote learning experience more successful.”

To register runners and teams can send their entry fee to $zone6ixsports via cashapp, download the Nike plus app, create an account, and accept the Social Distance challenge request from Dr. Mills.

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