With schools in lockdown and students learning remotely, the digital divide between has never been wider. Without access to a working device and Internet, many children will not be able to attend class. Here in New York, where all NYC public schools are currently closed and many students were remote or in-person only part-time before that, it's estimated that as many as 60,000 kids don't have the tools they need.
That's where Including You, comes in and needs your help. Founded by eleven year old New Yorker Daisy Hampton, Including You distributes PCs and, as needed, 4G hotspots to kids who need them for remote learning.
Tom's Hardware is partnering with Including You to help source gently used PCs (desktops or laptops). We've reached out to our industry contacts seeking devices, we're scrounging around our closets and we're asking you, our readers, to do the same. If you have any computers you can donate, please visit Including Your's donations page and fill out the online form. The organization is also taking cash donations to be spent on buying new devices or mobile Internet.
Including You is looking for any device that can get online to use Google Classroom. Chromebooks, laptops and even desktops are all helpful as are the peripherals one would need to use a desktop (monitors, keyboards and mice).
About Including You
Hampton started the charity last spring when the COVID-19 pandemic first set in. Her initial goal was to connect kids with special needs or other challenges to other children online who could serve as mentors, but soon she realized that many children didn't have a way to get online.
"I started Including You during the height of the pandemic in New York City. When we switched to remote learning, several of my friends never showed up to online class," Hampton said. "The teachers would ask if anyone had heard from them. I knew that they had no phones like most of us kids, and probably no internet."
Many of the kids Hampton helped at first were in Mississippi where she has connected with a local charity. However, a few weeks ago, Hampton saw an article about Kimani Anderson, a 9 year old Bronix girl whose mother was on the verge of being reported to child services for truancy because her school-issued iPad was broken.
"I asked my mom if we could give her a laptop. I had already set aside money I won from the Girl Scouts for Including You, so we used that and my parents made up the rest," Hampton said.
Since then, Hampton and her mother Jennifer have received hundreds of requests from students mostly in New York. So far, they have been able to provide devices to 75 kids, with more added every day
Though the NYC Department of Education (DOE) is supposed to provide each student with a device, many students have received broken tablets and others have gotten nothing at all.
"I think it a combination of red tape, inability to source, and communication problems," Jennifer Hampton said of the lack of working, school-issued devices. "Many of the kids have broken DOE-issued tablets and, anecdotally, it seems that their schools have to jump through hoops to get a replacement. We also heard the chancellor say . . . that, like many school districts around the country, they are dealing with a shortage of supplies, so that is an issue, too. Additionally, teachers have told me that some parents may not speak English and thus have difficulty communicating the need, or are unfamiliar with how to navigate the school system and make such requests."
Every computer Including You collects makes it possible for another child who would be unable to learn to attend school. So that old laptop that's gathering dust on your shelf or that spare desktop that's sitting in your closet could make the difference between going to school or sitting home and falling behind. You can sign up to donate equipment or money on Including You's donations page.
"We’ve received thank you notes from other kids and parents, or texts," Daisy Hampton said. "They are no longer being left out. It’s like these kids were knocking on their classroom door, and no one would let them in. And by giving them a computer, we opened it and said, 'Welcome!' That’s what Including You is all about."