On Tuesday morning, Cobb parent Heather Smith took a brief break from overseeing the instruction of her four boys to drive to Osborne High School where she picked up a new computer to help her kids with their digital learning.
This week, more than 600 Cobb parents like Ms. Smith will be able to pick up new free digital devices thanks to the Cobb Schools Foundation campaign to put the learning tools in the hands of those in need. The Foundation’s campaign has raised $185,000 of its $250,000 goal to buy digital devices. To support the campaign visit the Cobb Schools Family Stabilization Donation page.
“We are grateful to all those who have supported our campaign and understand that students who experience a lapse in learning may experience academic challenges in the near future. We want all students to continue to have success and have the tools and resources needed to achieve their goals,” said Felicia Wagner, Executive Director of the Cobb Schools Foundation.
Before Heather Smith picked up one of the new donated devices, she was struggling to meet her sons’ digital learning needs.
“I was unprepared. I had a broken tablet that had been disconnected for like 3-4 years,” Ms. Smith explained.
She had tried to make do with an outdated computer that has since stopped working and some old phones she managed to connect to WiFi. Unfortunately, one of her sons suffers from migraines and the tiny phone screens were no good for his eyes and headaches. She tried to buy another digital device herself but couldn’t find an available one due to delays in shipping and everyone snatching them up in response to businesses and schools closing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. She tried to find someone to fix her old computer but had no luck.
“Everywhere was sold out, and I didn’t know where to go. I can’t afford for every kid to have their own laptop or desktop,” she added.
Her sons’ teachers were staying in daily contact providing digital lessons, but she was starting to feel overwhelmed navigating all the emails on her phone. One day, a teacher checked in to see how she was managing. That was the lifeline she needed and the one that helped her family get the new digital device they need to continue their learning from home.
“I’m appreciative. It definitely takes a lot of stress off me. Everywhere was sold out. I didn’t know what to do. It all happened so fast,” the Cobb mom said.
She didn’t know who to thank for her new device. She didn’t know about the donations coming in from across the Cobb Schools community and the Cobb alumni stepping up to help the Cobb Schools Foundation campaign.
When asked what she would tell those who have supported the Cobb Schools Foundation campaign, like the Hamels Foundation, this is what she said:
“Thank you so much for coming through during a time of desperation and need for our next generation to proceed with their education and not feel so disconnected.”
Communities In Schools of Georgia is providing an additional 125 devices to students at Title I schools.
“We have worked with the school social workers and Cobb Schools Foundation to ensure that we do not provide to the same student. This way, we can both provide technology to students in need and not duplicate the recipients,” said Natalie Rutledge, Executive Director of Communities in Schools of Georgia in Marietta/Cobb County.
Cobb parents and students are not the only ones who are grateful for the new digital connections. Thanks to the digital devices, Cobb teachers can continue their relationship with their students, which is critical to the educational process.
Listen as Cobb teachers talk about the importance of staying connected.
How Can You Help?
Please visit the Cobb Schools Family Stabilization website to make a donation.