Teen-Led AlleyOop Launches App to Get eLearning Devices Into Learners’ Hands

By Aniqah Majid
August 28, 2020

AlleyOop initially operated with a mission to provide sporting equipment and experiences to those who do not have the means of accessing them. Earlier this week, the non-profit organization expanded their focus to include eLearning devices and released a mobile app to connect donors with students. As a direct response to pandemic,  AlleyOop hopes to reach underserved students who need such devices to keep up with remote education.

“We felt like this was such a big issue that it made sense to veer from our sports-gear-only focus,” said AlleyOop founder and high school student Shay Patel.

The Non-Profit AlleyOop Has Launched a Mobile App Where People Can Donate Sports Gear and eLearning Devices to Underserved Students

The organization was launched 5 years ago. An 11-year-old Patel was baffled to see that many of the children he went to basketball practice with were not wearing the appropriate footwear needed for the sport. Some even wore flip flops. This realization inspired Patel to create his own organization to help children who did not have the same access to the equipment and services that he did.

“Once schools across the nation stopped in person instruction and we heard of kids not having computers and laptops for distance learning, we quickly decided to add eLearning devices to our donation platform,” Patel said.

With the pandemic forcing people to continue life indoors, the need for internet access and technology is dire if people are to keep connected to society. Yet, many families around America are not able to access this current necessity. The Federal Communications Commission has reported that around 21 million Americans have no access to broadband connection, others report the rate to be around 41 million.

The Digital Divide Is One of the Biggest Barriers to Education During COVID-19

Patel remarks on the technological division in his own surroundings.

“The digital divide is so huge in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley,” Patel said. “There are wealthy private schools with wealthy families that can afford all of the devices they need and more, side by side with families that are living below the poverty line and need schools to provide meals for their children.”

The app itself is in its trial period. When asked about Alley-Oop’s future ambitions and projections of the service, Patel ushers back to the ethos of creating equal opportunity: “We hope to make sure everyone who needs an eLearning device in all communities can get one.” Presently, the organization is focused on spreading the word of the app and building a wealth of inventory in which people who need devices can connect with those that have them to spare.

Featured Image: Brooke Cagle, Unsplash.