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Bridging The Digital Divide: New York City 12-Year-Old Starts Movement To Get Students In Need Laptops

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- More than a year after the coronavirus pandemic started remote learning is still a fact of life for countless students in our area. And still, many of them don't have access to laptops.

On Monday, CBS2's Nick Caloway met a New York City student who is doing something about it.

Daisy Hampton was a student at MS 104 in Gramercy Park last year when she realized not everyone had the right tools for online learning.

"I noticed that a lot of my classmates weren't able to show up to Zoom calls, and we lost touch with them," the 12-year-old said.

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Schools: The New Normal

Then she heard about a 9-year-old girl in the Bronx who had no access to a laptop to do her schoolwork. So Daisy used $200 she had saved up to buy one for the girl.

"She was very, very joyful to be able to get this laptop because now she could be able to go on Zoom and see other people," Daisy said. "See her classmates. See her teachers."

Schools: The New Normal

That was the beginning of a huge effort to bridge the digital divide. Daisy started a GoFundMe page and thousands of dollars poured in, Caloway reported.

She bought new laptops and hotspots, and collected used laptops, too. And so far, she has given away nearly 200 devices to students across New York City and beyond, children who desperately needed them for remote learning.

"And I thought, what a great opportunity, because I know students in my school didn't have devices," teacher Deidre Nowak said.

FLASHBACK: Digital Divide: NYC Department Of Education Says More Devices For Students Won't Arrive For At Least Another Month

Nowak, who is a teacher in the Bronx, said she heard about Daisy on a Facebook group for teachers and ended up getting 17 laptops for students in need.

"So being able to have those 17 Chromebooks given to us and children being able to take them home and connect with everybody made such a difference," Nowak said.

"It has become much bigger than I ever thought, than that one computer given to a girl," Daisy added.

She said the job is far from over. She plans to keep working to bridge that technology gap, one laptop at a time -- until the need is no longer there.

Daisy is doing more than donating laptops. She also started a peer-to-peer mentoring group called Including You to help kids facing obstacles in and out of the classroom.

CBS2's Nick Caloway contributed to this report

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