AT&T makes donation to Hartford-based nonprofit to virtually connect kids with mentors

Hartford

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH)– A Hartford-based nonprofit was forced to change the way it works with kids amid the pandemic. That was made easier recently after an unexpected donation.

Marla Rizzo and 8-year-old Jayda have been buds for about a year.

“I went to her job once and she’s going to take me there again,” said Jayda Vargas, second grader.

In the literal sense, Marla’s Jayda’s mentor, matched through Hartford-based nonprofit Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“She definitely brings out a sillier side to Jayda. And Jayda feels really comfortable with her. I just see a really big growth in my daughter,” said Aleesha Rodriguez, Jayda’s Mom, New Britain.

But a year into their friendship the Coronavirus pandemic hit, making matches virtual.

“Now I just have to call her.”

Those calls just got easier recently after an unexpected donation from AT&T.

“Just talking on the phone. They’ve also done activities. They’ve played games together over Zoom and different video conferencing apps. So they’ve really managed to stay connected,” said Tara Gill, Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, Manager.

Jayda’s one of 100 “littles” getting this new smart phone.

“That connection is helpful in helping the kids to not feel so isolated during this crazy time,” said Gill.

And kids in the program are doing more than talking to “bigs,” drawing and playing games. Many are using them for distance learning at school.

Meanwhile, during their calls, Jayda and Marla keep building up plans for when the pandemic ends.

“We’re going to do crafts and we’re going to go to Six Flags and Lake Compounce and the playground at her house,” said Vargas.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Hartford

Family of 24-year-old man shot to death in unsolved Hartford murder still seeks justice a year later

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "Family of 24-year-old man shot to death in unsolved Hartford murder still seeks justice a year later"

Glastonbury PD search for man who allegedly exposed himself to minors while jogging

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "Glastonbury PD search for man who allegedly exposed himself to minors while jogging"

CT Checkup: Lemonade stand in Farmington neighborhood raises money to purchase racial equality, diversity books for town schools, libraries

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "CT Checkup: Lemonade stand in Farmington neighborhood raises money to purchase racial equality, diversity books for town schools, libraries"

Hartford mayor pushes for subpoena power, stronger authority for Civilian Police Review Board

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "Hartford mayor pushes for subpoena power, stronger authority for Civilian Police Review Board"

State employees receive contracted raises amid pandemic

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "State employees receive contracted raises amid pandemic"

$16 million in unclaimed CT tax dollars available to those who haven't filed for 2016, July 15 deadline approaching fast

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "$16 million in unclaimed CT tax dollars available to those who haven't filed for 2016, July 15 deadline approaching fast"
More Hartford

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss