Before the coronavirus pandemic, a reliable connection to the internet was essential for many of us. Flash forward to now, a reliable connection to the internet means access to healthcare, education, employment, customers, grocery delivery—essential for basic needs and income. Still, in Vermont, about 70,000 households and businesses either do not have internet connection or inconsistent, dated dial-up access.Read more about "The VT COVID-19 Response Fund Recovery Initiatives: A Q+A on Rural Connectivity "
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The Mentor Connector, UVM 4-H, & The Vermont Youth Project "Bring Camp to the Youth"
Social distancing rules have kept most summer camps to half capacity or closed altogether. Without access to camps, our area's youth were at risk of social isolation and depression. Vermont Youth Project, under the leadership of The Mentor Connector and UVM 4-H, jumped into action. “We will bring camp to the youth.”
Over 30 youth-serving organizations joined together to create innovative Out of the Box-es activity boxes for youth. These boxes are distributed every other week throughout the summer and filled with fun educational and life-skill activities for youth to do on their own, with their family, or through Zoom activity classes each week. Each box contains 4-6 hands-on activities, so the kids will find plenty to do and with hopes, the activities will be a springboard to even more creative play. Over 9500 boxes will be distributed to Rutland, Addison, and Bennington counties. Our community’s future depends on how our youth grow, develop, and learn. These boxes are a bright spot for Vermont kids to continue to grow and learn through this time of uncertainty.