WEST HARTFORD — Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters has received a donation of 100 smart phones from AT&T, said an email from the organization.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters quickly implemented an innovative new virtual mentoring model to ensure that at-risk children could stay connected to their mentors (“Bigs”). Using a Virtual Mentoring Toolkit, children and their “Bigs” undertake joint activities and virtual tours, explore science, math and reading, play games and stay in close touch.
With these new devices, which come with two months of free AT&T service, low income children will be able to remain connected with their “Bigs.” They will also be able to use them for distance learning during the remainder of the school year and beyond.
“This generous donation from AT&T will make a huge difference for 100 of the great children we serve,” said Andy Fleischmann, president and CEO of Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters. “For many of them, a smart phone is their only way of really connecting with their mentors. In this period of uncertainty and disconnection, keeping the vulnerable kids in our program in contact with their Big Brothers and Sisters — as well as other nurturing people in their lives — is tremendously important. It will help reduce their stress and anxiety, and ensure that, each week, they can connect with inspiring mentors who help keep them on a healthy path.”
“We are grateful to play a small part in the virtual mentoring efforts undertaken by Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said John Emra, president of AT&T Connecticut. “Their dedicated volunteers and staff members are working hard to make sure mentoring continues, especially for vulnerable children who otherwise may have fallen through the cracks during the COVID-19 crisis. We hope these phones will enable children and mentors to remain connected an on track during this critical time.”
This smart phone donation is part of a larger effort by AT&T to support student mentoring and distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to local donations such as this, the company has supported numerous distance learning initiatives through its Distance Learning & Family Connections Fund. Details on AT&T’s distance learning initiatives and resources for students, parents, teachers and families can be found at www.about.att.com/newsroom/2020/covid_19_distance_learning.html.
Based in Hartford, Nutmeg serves 132 of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities. To learn more about the organization, visit www.nbbbs.org.