“Technology can be a powerful tool for good. It’s about connecting people, and providing access to people and tools that enrich our experiences,” says Celeste Boyd-Spear, AT&T VPGM. “At AT&T, we love working with organizations that make a difference in their community. Education is an area rich with opportunity for technology to make a meaningful impact in children’s lives. And at The Help Us Grow (H.U.G.) Foundation, that’s exactly what they do!”
AT&T teamed up with The H.U.G. Foundation, an organization that’s all about enriching their communities through connection and helping 2nd and 3rd grade students in the southeast United States gain access to reading tutors in a time where education is going through deep changes. H.U.G. strives to promote social equality and education for all students, allowing them to achieve grade level reading by completion of third grade. H.U.G. incorporates character development and confidence building components to help struggling readers become confident grade level readers, thus improving their life's trajectory. H.U.G. has been connecting students with reading instructors since 2008, helping grow students into confident, resilient, successful, adults by building excellent social skills and the ability to learn independently. During the COVID-19 pandemic, H.U.G. saw the opportunity to step in and give students the tools they need to develop reading, social and overall learning skills in a way that made sense with the new remote teaching models & learning environments.
AT&T is proud to provide H.U.G. with hotspots that provide fast and reliable connectivity for their tablets. This allows tutors to give students one-on-one remote tutoring to complement their in-person learning – or move to a completely remote model. Tutors can now easily video conference with their students and manage H.U.G.’s custom app that tailors curriculum to each student.
“Our work with AT&T has enabled the H.U.G. Reading Program to expand to 9 schools across two states, with plans to expand into a third and fourth state by 2023”, says Janine Broussard, Founder of Help Us Grow, Inc. “Our students and tutors alike experience internet instability and the reliability of AT&T hotspots have been a boon for keeping our students connected, reading, learning and benefiting with having a mentor.”
The AT&T hotspots are small enough to mail to individual schools and powerful enough to seamlessly connect dozens of devices in a spreadout cafeteria . Each week, over 200 students, mentors, and H.U.G. staff rely on the AT&T hotspots to provide fast and reliable internet connection.
“We couldn't do the work that we do, nor provide the needed educational mentoring we foster without our work with AT&T”, Janine shares. Our shared commitment, dedication and passion for education is helping the Help Us Grow Foundation make a difference!
At AT&T, we believe every student deserves the right tools and resources to experience and attain an education, no matter their circumstance, and no matter what table they happen to be sitting at. AT&T and H.U.G. are bringing reading programs into the future, meeting students where they are, and keeping pace with technology’s rapid transformation. By working together, we’re helping close the technological gaps and empowering H.U.G. to enable students to be the difference to themselves, their family, and their community.