In a time when many teenagers were just trying to figure out remote learning and social distancing, 15-year-old Lovonte Adams and 17-year-old Jordon Adams were donning personal protective equipment and heading to a COVID-19 testing lab to help their community.
They worked for hours with no pay in hopes of easing their neighbors’ minds about testing and vaccines. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, their own home life was fraught with uncertainty.
Dr. Anita Jackson wanted to find a way to give students of color opportunities to use science, technology, engineering, and math to give back to their communities. So she created the STEM Student CO-OiP Community Outreach, Opportunities, and Innovation Project.
Meanwhile, Diana Powell and her nonprofit foundation, Justice Served NC, teamed up with Vero Diagnostics to pair Lovonte and Jordon with the STEM Student CO-OiP. The brothers began working at the Vero Diagnostics COVID-19 testing lab in Wake County, providing free novel coronavirus tests along with education and reassurance to local residents.
“It’s helped me find new experiences [and] opened up doors for me,” Lovonte told GMA. “You’re helping the community, you’re helping people.”
Jordon and Lovonte live in Raleigh, North Carolina. Their county has been among the hardest pandemic hit Black communities, and many residents are wary of scientific and medical professionals. That’s why seeing the teens performing tasks in a lab or working at the testing centers is so important! It reassures their neighbors that they’re in good hands.
“It’s awesome to have them on the front lines and say, trust science. COVID is real, don’t take it lightly,” Diana explained.
Despite their professionalism at work, the kindhearted brothers were facing trouble in their personal lives. Both of their parents lost their jobs due to the pandemic, so they’ve had a hard time keeping a roof over their heads.
When Diane found out Jordon and Lovonte were going to be homeless again at the end of January, she knew she had to rally her resources to give back to the teens who have given so much to so many.
“They didn’t know where they are going to go,” she said. “They deserve more. They deserve better.”
So she teamed up with Dr. Anita Jackson and Vero Diagnostics to find the perfect solution: a townhome where their whole family can live for free for a year until they get back on their feet financially!
The brothers heard the good news live on Good Morning America, and then they got the grand tour a few days later. This is the first secure home the Adams family has had in four long years!
“I don’t even know what to say, this is great,” Lovonte said. Jordon added, “It’s very overwhelming.”
“I’m really fortunate to have children like them,” Amber Adams, their mom, said. “And I’m very thankful and grateful to everyone. I was a bit jaded about humanity so this is very good timing — they’re so resilient and I appreciate their strength, they’re really good boys.”
Thanks to their training, both brothers hope to pursue careers in science and medicine in the future. They have learned firsthand that knowledge is power, and STEM provides many pathways to help others!
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