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United Way seeks donations for 'hotspots'

If you or your organization are looking for a way to help local school children and their teachers, the United Way of Cleveland County (UWCC) has an answer for you. In a campaign titled, "Connect Cleveland County" the agency is working to provide "hotspots" for area students to aid them in their schoolwork.

"Virtual learning is now part of the average school day for almost all of our local school students," says Leslie Cobb, UWCC executive director.

"There is an immediate need for every child in the Cleveland County Schools to have quality internet connection."

The solution to this need for connection is to provide a mobile "hotspot" to every student who does not have access to the internet.

"For just $250, donors can provide such a 'hotspot' that the student can use with their school-provided

Chromebook," says Cobb. "This will allow them to access the virtual learning portal and help students to continue to learn, communicate and connect."

Cobb says she hopes local businesses, churches and civic organizations will step in to provide these "hotspots."

"Our goal is 250 for $250," says Cobb. "This will put our school system well on its way to providing access to all area students. We will be glad to let area churches or other groups designate that their donated 'hotspot' go to a particular school or area. We are hopeful that this will really become a community effort that will, indeed, 'connect' our county during this difficult time."

And while donations of $250 are certainly welcome, UWCC is glad to accept donations in any amount.

"If individuals would like to participate but can't commit to the entire $250, we will gladly combine multiple donations to purchase a unit," says Cobb. The idea for the "hotspot" drive came from a desire by the UWCC to help area teachers during the COVID-19 crisis.

"After discussion with local school officials, we came to see that by getting these units to the students, we are not only helping the individual students, but we are also helping the teachers," says Cobb. "When the students have the technology they need, the teachers can focus more on teaching and less on trying to make a connection."

Cobb is confident the community will come together to meet this needed resource.

"The people of Cleveland County are always so very generous," says Cobb. "I just love this community - I have been in this job for 25 years, and it's amazing to me how when there is a need, the community just comes together and does incredible things."

For more information or to make a donation to the "Connect Cleveland County" campaign, visit the UWCC website at www.uwclevco.org/hotspot.

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