For immediate release on or after September 10, 2020
Hall: “USVI Government Slow Response Fails Youths in Preparing for Virtual School Amid Pandemic”
By Arthia Nixon
Atlanta, Georgia…The U.S. Virgin Islands will be receiving 90 of the much-needed laptops and tablets to enable children in need keep up with their schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to a fundraiser spearheaded by philanthropist and mental health advocate, Yassin Hall.
Hall, a native of the islands who now lives in Atlanta, Georgia is working directly with Carol Callwood, STT, STJ & STX Federation of Teachers to ensure the students in need receive a device. Laptops ordered by the government are not going to arrive until the later part of 2020 months after school opens.
“So many families are not able to afford technology right now especially in homes where multiple children must be in different classrooms and grades at the same time,” said Hall. “The thing is the U.S. Virgin Islands is a territory of the United States items take even longer to reach them. Those of us who can, we must do what we could to help these kids who are simply trying to cope in the new normal amid this pandemic.”
The Chromebooks were ordered by the Department of Education in July but due to the demand, the manufactures were already backlogged. School began on September 14th, with the majority of the students starting without a device.
Hall appealed to her social media followers to assist and started the fundraiser by donating $5000 from her own business and got into action by shopping in various stores around Atlanta and over twenty neighboring cities picking up tablets.
Teachers and parents flocked to Hall’s social media pages expressing gratitude for what she is doing to help students. One mother, Kimeshia was moved to tears, saying she had been wondering what to do to get her six-year-old son equipment to stay on track.
“We don’t know each other but I’ve followed you for a year. I just wanted to say, I have a lot of love and respect for you,” said Kimeshia, the mother of a six-year-old boy. “I saw your video which made me cry. It was wonderful to see someone who’s heart is in the right place and so passionate in helping the children of the USVI. I just wanted to thank you for doing this for our kids. It truly takes a village.”
Hall is no stranger to giving back and offering help to the USVI community when she can. In January 2020, Hall received notice that a non-profit received a $300,000 grant to ensure that every student in the territory would receive free mental health care as a result of Hall’s decade long advocacy for awareness. She detailed her experience as the child of a violent bipolar schizophrenic in her bestselling books ‘Beyond The Love Curse’ and ‘Journey Untold’.
“The goal is to ensure every child has the ability to be able to start school with the required equipment,” said Hall. “It is up to us to do whatever little we can to help, whether that means contributing enough for five laptops or contributing just $50 to help towards shipping. Every little bit counts.”