BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Malika Jones and her son Delonte live in Cherry Hill where they say an internet connection was something they could never count on.

“It would buffer a lot as well as just crash, it would just crash,” she said.

It was a problem she grew more concerned about with Delonte starting virtual learning at his school, Cherry Hill Elementary.

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It’s a problem many families face. In Baltimore, 40 percent of homes do not have a wired internet connection, according to a May report from the Abell Foundation.

It’s why Elev8 Baltimore started installing WiFi hotspots in time for the fall semester.

“For communities of color across Baltimore, access to reliable high-speed internet is a game-changer,” said Alexandria Warrick-Adams, the organization’s executive director.

They’ve put five hotspots across the city and are preparing to install more.

Elev8 partnered with Rowdy Orbit and their teams attached the hotspots to rooftops and even church steeples, teaching local teens along the way.

“He’s learning a new language,” said Jonathan Moore, CEO of Rowdy Orbit, referring to their teen workers.

One of them is Cherry Hill teenager Esaiah Watson.

“Now people in the community can go directly to him and ask him questions,” added Moore.

And Watson is happy to do it, inspiring hope while he does.

“I don’t do this for Baltimore, I do it for the world… people think we’re hopeless and I’m here to make sure that people know there still is hope,” he said.

To request a WiFi Hotspot be placed in your Baltimore neighborhood, visit Elev8’s website by clicking here or email info@elev8baltimore.org.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Annie Rose Ramos

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