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CNN.COM - Back to school: How you can support students and teachers during the pandemic
Posted by Heather Chirtea at 08:37:53 PM Mon 03/15/2021

By Ashley Vaughan, CNN

Updated 2:15 PM ET, Fri March 12, 2021

An empty classroom awaits the return of students in Glendale, California.

An empty classroom awaits the return of students in Glendale, California.

(CNN)Now more than ever, teachers across the country are stretched thin.

After a year of online or hybrid learning, educators continue to juggle a variety of roles -- including providing tech support to some students -- all while trying to keep safe from coronavirus.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the screen, some students and their families have struggled to keep up. The pandemic's economic fallout devastated vulnerable families, making at-home learning even more challenging.

Fortunately, there are organizations helping teachers, students and their families during the pandemic.

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You can donate to any or all charities mentioned in this article by clicking the button below or by going here.

Bridging the digital divide

A study by Common Sense Media and the Boston Consulting Group reports 16 million children in the US lack internet access or laptops for virtual learning.

In a recent CNN opinion article, Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP, and Geoffrey Starks, the commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, argued that internet access is a modern necessity.

"Full participation in 21st century society requires everyone to have a reliable broadband connection to access work, healthcare, education and government resources," they wrote.

According to a poll from the National Parents Union, more than 70% of parents reported their child as enrolled in either part-time or full remote online learning.

According to a poll from the National Parents Union, more than 70% of parents reported their child as enrolled in either part-time or full remote online learning.

The Lifeline program of the FCC allows for eligible subscribers who identify as low-income to qualify for a monthly discount of $9.25. Monthly discounts of up to $34.25 are available to qualifying members on tribal lands. The FCC says discounted offers are available to qualifying subscribers in every state, commonwealth, territory and on tribal land.

Allconnect provides resources to locate "the best cheap internet" near one's home. For low-income families, the organization provides a guide to find "government assistance, income-based and provider-specific programs." On its website, Allconnect has a resource list of major internet providers offering discounted internet services. For pricing details, click here.

Similarly, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance offers a list of current providers with discounted rates for eligible families. Listed offers are less than $20 a month with no installation fees.

Through its ConnectAll initiative, InterConnection provides families in need of internet-enabled devices with opportunities to buy technology at a discount. InterConnection also offers free shipping for all of its computers, excluding Hawaii and Alaska.

Comp-U-Dopt places technology into the hands of students in underfunded communities. The organization says a $275 donation will pay for one student's computer.

Comp-U-Dopt has programs in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Washington, DC and several Texas cities (Corpus Christie, Dallas, Fort Worth, Galveston, Houston, San Antonio and Midland).

In a 2018 survery from AdoptAClassroom.org, 96% of teachers reported having to purchase classroom supplies for their students.

In a 2018 survery from AdoptAClassroom.org, 96% of teachers reported having to purchase classroom supplies for their students.

Contributions to Digital Wish provide mobile hotspots to make education accessible everywhere. The organization is on a mission to connect one million students to mobile wifi. Digital Wish accepts technology hardware donations which get "responsibly recycled" with proceeds going toward the purchase of hotspots.

Support for teachers

In a recent survey conducted by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, over half of the sampled teachers reported declining feelings of success during the epidemic and having to teach remotely. For decades, teachers routinely made sacrifices in their already demanding careers. According to a 2018 survey from AdoptAClassroom.org, 96% of teachers reported having to purchase classroom supplies for their students.

To champion teachers and support their efforts, consider donating to the organizations below:

  • AdoptAClassroom.org has launched a Covid-19 Relief Fund for teachers and students. Donations will help pay for hotspots and Chromebooks for students, PPE, and necessary supplies requested by teachers. AdoptAClassroom also enables donors to fund individual teachers and schools. To find a school or a teacher to support click here:

  • DonorsChoose offers a simplified way for donors to find and fund campaign projects created by teachers across the US. Campaigns include a range of education issues from literacy to emotional support. The organization strives to make sure every student in "every community has the tools and experiences they need for a great education." To search for teacher campaigns to support, click here.

In addition to cash, Kids in Need Foundation accepts donated supplies that help educators across the country stock their classrooms. Needed items include crayons, erasers, pencils, and hand sanitizer. To bolster donations, the non-profit offers a downloadable guide on how to host a "DIY Supply Drive" on their website.

Kids in Need Foundation also offers donation options for business owners as well. With the help of everyday people, the organization says it has provided an estimated $100 million worth of supplies to teachers and students across the country.

Nutrition for children

According to Feeding America, more than 42 million people may experience food insecurity during the pandemic. The organization says this potentially includes 13 million children.

Feeding America has created a Covid-19 Response Fund. The non-profit says that each donated dollar will help food banks across the country. Similarly, Blessings in a Backpack is helping fill the gap of providing meals for children who no longer can receive school lunches or breakfasts. The organization says a donation of $4 "provides a Blessing Bag of food to a child facing food insecurity."

Boxes of food are distributed by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Boxes of food are distributed by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

On its website, Save the Children reports nearly 1 in 5 children grows up in poverty in the US. Backdropped by the pandemic, vulnerable families must do much more with less -- and oftentimes it is not enough. Since the start of the pandemic, Save The Children has prepared and delivered meals to children who counted on in-school dining. So far, the organization has helped prepare and deliver more than 18 million meals. On its website, the organization offers downloadable educational toolkits to help parents support their child's education at home. The kits also suggest helpful language for parents to help with difficult conversations about the pandemic.

In response to Covid-19, the United Way has been helping families and children in a number of ways. The organization says it has served more than 33 million meals to families in need. In addition to food, the organization provided rent and mortgage assistance to more than 100,000 households and has paid more than 100,000 utility bills, which support children attending class online. The organization also helped families of essential workers buffer the costs of child care. The United Way says more than 24,000 households received financial help with child care through its local chapters.

Little Free Pantry created a grassroots movement mobilizing people to create "free pantries" outside their homes so those in need can easily receive direct relief. The mission encourages neighborhoods to "Give what you can" and "take what you need." According to the organization, items like canned vegetables, protein drinks, and personal care items go fast. Anyone can set up a pantry in their yard and can join the national movement here.

Free Little Pantry is a grassroots movement in which individuals and neighborhoods can provide direct relief to those in need of food or essential items.

Free Little Pantry is a grassroots movement in which individuals and neighborhoods can provide direct relief to those in need of food or essential items.

World Central Kitchen also stepped up to join the fight against hunger. In response to Covid-19, the organization distributes individually wrapped meals for children and families to pick up and take home. Throughout the pandemic, World Central Kitchen says it provided more than 30 million meals across more than 400 cities.

The Meals for Kids Finder operated by the US Department of Agriculture is a useful tool to connect children who normally receive free or reduced school lunch with needed meals. The search portal identifies distribution sites near a child's home by zip code or home address.

The US Department of Agriculture also offers a toll-free number 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (Spanish) to support families in need of food assistance. The hotline is staffed Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m ET.

CNN's Lauren Lee, Mayra Cuervas, and Jennifer Grubb contributed to this report.


ZoomInfo Platform Empowers Digital Wish to Aid Students Without Home Internet Access During Pandemic
Posted by Heather Chirtea at 03:38:52 PM Thu 12/17/2020

ZoomInfo has given complimentary access to its platform to Digital Wish to aid students without internet access at home during the pandemic.


Tuesday, December 15th 2020, 9:23 AM EST

Delivers Contact Data on 1,200 Companies to Help Nonprofit Address Digital Divide

VANCOUVER, Wash. --(BUSINESS WIRE)

ZoomInfo (NASDAQ: ZI), a global leader in go-to-market (GTM) intelligence solutions, today announced that it has given complimentary access to its best-in-class platform to assist Digital Wish, a nonprofit organization helping provide home internet access to students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital Wish is connecting 1 million students with mobile hotspots and laptops while they learn from home during the pandemic.

The organization kicked off its Connect A Student campaign earlier this year after the pandemic closed schools, which left more than 10 million students nationwide struggling to learn remotely in homes with no internet connectivity. Through Connect A Student, corporations and individuals can help solve the digital divide by donating hotspots, donating money, recycling used IT equipment, and participating in social media challenges to raise funding.

With access to ZoomInfo’s corporate contact data, the Digital Wish philanthropy and outreach teams were easily able to speak directly with 1,200 companies to raise awareness and recruit support for the initiative.

“ZoomInfo saved our research and marketing teams months of time and energy,” said Heather Chirtea, Executive Director of Digital Wish. “ZoomInfo is a tremendous asset that organizations like ours can’t thrive without.”

“As many schools nationwide have again transitioned to online learning, it’s become even more important that we do whatever we can to enable all the students in this country to continue their education,” said Henry Schuck, Founder and CEO of ZoomInfo. “We’re proud to share our platform with Digital Wish to help them achieve their mission of bridging the digital divide and connecting our young people at home to their teachers and classmates.”

Based in Milton, Del., Digital Wish aims to ensure that all children are provided with the technology-rich education they deserve, in order to develop the skills necessary to excel in a global economy. Digital Wish empowers teachers and their supporters through the development of new technology for classrooms that enhances learning for children. As Digital Wish builds momentum in its cause, the organization recently enlisted NBA basketball player Jordan Bone of the Orlando Magic as a key spokesperson.

To donate to Digital Wish, text DONATE123 to 707070. To learn more about the Connect A Student campaign, please visit www.connectastudent.org or follow Digital Wish on Twitter. Digital Wish is a registered 501(c)3 organization.

About Digital Wish

Digital Wish staff work closely with hardware and software manufacturers to provide donated and discounted technology products to K-12 schools and higher education. Since COVID-19, Digital Wish has delivered thousands of hotspots to schools. In 2009, Digital Wish was founded based on a seed grant from Olympus, and within two years, grew that to $5.9M, allowing us to aid more than 500,000 students. We were also awarded an Obama stimulus grant for $1.125M dollars to implement 1:1 technology in 30 towns across Vermont, increasing student technology proficiency by 30%. With a membership of 68,000 technology educators, we are able to offer free resources by partnering with internationally known technology names, including Motorola, Dell, Verizon, Microsoft and more. Visit www.digitalwish.org to learn more.

About ZoomInfo

ZoomInfo (NASDAQ: ZI) is a Go-To-Market Intelligence Solution for more than 15,000 companies worldwide. The ZoomInfo platform empowers business-to-business sales, marketing, and recruiting professionals to hit their number by pairing best-in-class technology with unrivaled data coverage, accuracy, and depth of contacts. With integrations embedded into workflows and technology stacks, including the leading CRM, Sales Engagement, Marketing Automation, and Talent Management applications, ZoomInfo drives more predictable, accelerated, and sustainable growth for its customers. ZoomInfo emphasizes GDPR and CCPA compliance. In addition to creating the industry’s first proactive notice program, the company is a registered data broker with the states of California and Vermont. Read about ZoomInfo’s commitment to compliance, privacy, and security. For more information about our leading Go-To-Market Intelligence Solution, and how it helps sales, marketing, and recruiting professionals, please visit www.zoominfo.com.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201215005451/en/

Media

Rob Morse

Manager, Communications

ZoomInfo

[email protected]


T.H.E.Journal Covers the Virtual Volunteer Project!
Posted by Heather Chirtea at 04:23:18 PM Fri 10/12/2012

Digital Wish Opens Virtual Volunteer Site To Match Teachers with Experts

- By Dian Schaffhauser, 10/11/12

An organization that promotes the use of technology in the classroom by putting teachers who have specific requests in touch with donors who can help make those wishes come true has launched a new service to link teachers with volunteers. Non-profit Digital Wish now offers "Virtual Volunteers," an area on its Web site. The new service allows teachers to post classroom projects and ask for a virtual volunteer who can serve via video conference; it also allows volunteers to sign up, describe their various capabilities, and volunteer to help with a class project...

http://thejournal.com/articles/2012/10/11/digital-wish-opens-virtual-volunteer-site-to-match-teachers-with-experts.aspx


Netbooks will allow ‘one-to-one computing’ in Nashua fifth grade- Nashua Telegraph
Posted by John Sullivan at 02:43:48 PM Thu 12/22/2011

NASHUA – Wanting to liven up a class project on verbs with a picture of a Christmas tree, fifth-grader Kourtnie Hamel did a quick Google image search. She found a colorfully decorated evergreen in a matter of minutes and dropped it into a word document.

Kourtnie, a student in Tanya Ackerman’s class at Bicentennial Elementary School, didn’t have to go to the front of the room for this; she did it from her desk..

Read more at the Nashua Telegraph.


Digital Wish Black Friday Featured on ISTE's Special Interest Group for Online Learning
Posted by John Sullivan at 03:58:07 PM Tue 11/22/2011

ISTE's Special Interest Group for Online Learning has posted all the information teachers need to know for Digital Wish's Black Friday 2011 specials!

Check it out here!


Heather Chirtea & Eric Bird Interviewed on WVTK
Posted by John Sullivan at 12:15:12 PM Tue 11/15/2011
Heather Chirtea and Eric Bird talk about their work with Addison Central School, other Vermont schools and the e-Vermont program on WVTK. Click here to listen to the audio.

County classrooms embrace new technologies- Addison County Independent
Posted by John Sullivan at 12:29:52 PM Fri 10/14/2011

ADDISON COUNTY — In Dawn Berno’s fourth-grade class at Addison Central School, students are learning key skills for the Internet age, ranging from principles of digital citizenship to managing a personal password, with the help of their own netbook computers.

 Read more at the Addison County Independent.


International Cars, Ltd. donates $10,000 to support education through Digital Wish
Posted by John Sullivan at 02:12:01 PM Tue 09/13/2011

Danvers, Mass. – (September 9, 2011): The International Cars, Ltd. (ICL) family of dealerships is pleased to announce that it has donated $10,000 through the online giving forum, Digital Wish, in recognition of "National Back to School" month.

Each of ICL's five dealerships contributed a percentage of their August sales proceeds to the total donation.  The funds will help Digital Wish fulfill requests from educators looking to bring more advanced technology into their classrooms.

Read more at the Boston Globe.


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