YMCA Partners with Local Organizations to Get Students Connected

Kristin Proto, Executive Director of the Garage Youth Center and Aaron Karpas of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine donate HotSpots to families in need.

WEST GROVE, PA – With schools closed in Pennsylvania due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 Chester County organizations, will be delivering mobile hotspots – courtesy of AT&T – to these students on Tuesday, May 19. 

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 – forgetting about social distancing guidelines.

Karpas then reached out to a Y member working for the telecommunications company, AT&T.

Many would be surprised to realize that families in Chester County are in need of internet access. 

“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 hot spots, which will give students free internet access for 60 days.  

Karpas made one last connection between AT&T and Christopher Marchese, Ed.D., superintendent for 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. 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 who 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.”