YMCA Partners with Garage Youth Center, Avon Grove School District to Get Students Connected

From left: Patti Campbell, Vice President of Mission Advancement for the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, and Kirstan Dolinger, Senior Program Director at the Jennersville YMCA.

With schools closed throughout the state, some students in the Jennersville area without Internet access have had to get resourceful when it comes to completing assignments.

Volunteers from the Jennersville YMCA, along with other local organizations, delivered mobile hotspots – courtesy of AT&T – to these students on Tuesday.

Aaron Karpas, executive director of the Jennersville YMCA, learned about local residents’ lack of Internet access through a conversation with Kristin Proto, executive director of West Grove’s Garage Youth Center. Proto saw a group of students huddling outside of local businesses trying to access Wi-Fi to complete schoolwork and forgetting about social distancing guidelines.

Karpas then reached out to a Y member working for AT&T.

“The Y’s purpose and cause as an organization is to strengthen communities and help people,” said Karpas. “The Y understands the challenges that keep individuals from reaching their full potential and responds with services and support that help people to be self-reliant, productive, and connected to the community.”

AT&T had already created a program specifically for students needing Internet access during the pandemic. The company donated 250 hotspots, which will give students free Internet access for 60 days.

Karpas made one last connection between AT&T and Christopher Marchese, the superintendent of the Avon Grove School District who knew of students in the district needing Internet access.

“The Avon Grove School District is grateful for our partnership with the Jennersville YMCA,” Marchese said. “We always appreciate the opportunity to collaborate on important community initiatives, such as the Wi-Fi hotspot distribution, to ensure we are bridging the gap of Internet connectivity. We are very fortunate to have the YMCA as a strong community partner in our district.”

The Jennersville Y, Garage Youth Center, and the Avon Grove School District are looking forward to helping local families that they each serve in different ways.

“I was thrilled to get a call from Aaron Karpas regarding his work with Avon Grove School District to secure hotspots for our families,” said Proto. “Access and equity, particularly when it comes to educational resources, has been a concern for The Garage since the schools closed due to COVID-19. With these hotspots, we can ensure that all of our students have Internet access, which is essential to their success. We are a grateful partner of the Y and so many amazing organizations in our community.”


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