After just one week, Inspire Community Outreach is on track to help hundreds of young Manitobans connect to their friends and school communities.
Students feeling isolated from the world outside of their homes due to a lack of technology are finding comfort in technology.
For many young Manitobans, technology such as tablets and laptops are not accessible to them, but due to self-isolation measures and the move to online schooling, many are struggling with their mental health.
Angela Taylor, the CEO of Inspire Community Outreach, says that in just one week they have received over seven hundred requests for technology from young Manitobans and are working to fulfill four hundred of those requests.
"(For) these community members without connection ... the challenges are so difficult," she says.
She shares that the project is still new, but so far they have delivered on a promise to a young boy with Autism.
Taylor says the boy was having difficulty finding things to do around the house. Taylor and his mom were worried the boy would become bored and run out of the home, putting himself in danger.
"Having the iPad at home, he is now playing games...he is learning. He and his mom are connecting over this technology and are doing it together. That is the difference that technology can make for these kiddos right now."
When they received the iPad, Taylor says the family was overjoyed, sending photos of the boy and his mom smiling and laughing together.
Taylor, who is used to seeing children every week in their homes, has found it difficult knowing that many young Manitobans are not able to communicate with others because of a lack of technology.
"If they cannot connect with their service providers and have no one else to connect with them their mental health will be drastically affected," Taylor says. "I am seeing anxiety levels go up, depression. (There are) lots of worries for these children."
Some of the children have no access at all to communication technology. Taylor says that while shocking, it is not uncommon for children to give messages to a service provider who can then call others on the child's behalf.
"They could not even call me or reach out to me in any way if it wasn't for some of the amazing helpers in this community," she says. "I am humbled, I am delighted, I am feeling a lot of different emotions but I also see us coming together in ways I had only dreamed of."
By providing children with resources, Taylor says the mental health of children will improve and that they will be able to participate in their online classes.
"A lot of people who grew without the internet were playing outside in large groups, doing activities together and having support in that way," Taylor says. "Our kids are at a disadvantage right now because all of their friends are online and they need a social connection to be well."
Taylor adds that right now the safest way to connect with others is by going online, and by providing those in the program with that ability she knows their mental health will improve.
Inspire Community Outreach has found the community has been helpful by donating used electronics and volunteering to distribute them to children in need.
Along with the distribution of technology, Inspire has moved most of its programming online for anyone wanting to use it.