CHICAGO (CBS) — Tuesday was day two of virtual learning for thousands of Chicago students at home, but the reality is a large number of families are still without much needed technology.
Recently Gillian Fealy’s busy days have been even more hectic.
“Every moment my phone rings,” she said.
But it’s not related to her day job as an attorney. The calls are from families with a different need right now.
“We still probably have about 45 students so far that are still in need of some kind of digital device,” she said.
Her newest focus is gathering laptops, Chromebooks and iPads for kids who are without during the age of coronavirus and e-learning at home. Her main motivation came from being the creator of a nonprofit called Live Grit SOARS that trains young athletes on the West Side. She knew all of her kids would not be on a level playing field when it came to technology.
“One of the schools was able to provide all of their students with the tablets or Chromebooks,” she said. “Another organization that we work with was not.”
Chicago Public Schools is still working on handing out more than 100,000 devices to students in need, but e-learning started Monday. It has forced some schools to use their own fundraising efforts to bridge the gap.
In just days Fealy has filled that gap in her organization and beyond. More than 20 students have a new or donated electronic device to keep.
The attonrey has opened up distribution to troubled youth and foster families she works with in the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian.
“In talking to our foster families, it’s you know, ‘Oh, I’ve been going to the school every day to pick up printed out materials,'” she said.
As the list of those in need has grown, she is hoping to get more donations to help close the digital divide.
To donate find the digital drive fund here.