At 13 years old, Arman Roy knew what he wanted to do with his life.
After reading an article about local businesses in Detroit pulling together to bring internet to its poorest neighborhoods and residents, the always smiling teenager turned to his father Priya and said, Dad this is the kind of work I want to do. This is what we need to do to make sure that all kids can have access to the internet and technology.
Just like that, the always active boy scout found his inspiration and his lifes calling. That calling combined his two favorite things technology and helping people.
He always had a thirst for knowledge, Priya said. He really had a creative talent when it came to technology. Anything tech-related, he was on it.
Arman tragically passed away in his sleep on April 9, 2019 at 15 years old, but his dream was far from over.
We always knew that had such a caring soul, but after he passed away, hundreds of people came to talk to us about how he helped them and the things he did for them, his mother Manisha said. His gift and his passion was technology, but he was really so much more than that and I think that is what inspired so many people to carry on his legacy.
Arman Roy passed away at the age of 15. His family and friends created the Arman N Roy Foundation to fulfill his legacy of providing technology to children that can't afford it.Courtesy of Priya Roy
With some many people ready to help fulfill Armans dream, within two months, the Arman N Roy Foundation was created. Its goal was to put technology into the hands of youth who needed its help to create a more hopeful future.
The words I use are magical and miraculous because immediately after Arman passed away, a bunch of family and friends thought 'how can we continue to inspire the world, Manisha said. We wanted to take that gift and carry on this legacy. One thing led to another and now we have the most devoted and passionate people that feel this is one of the most important things that we need to do in the world.
In its first year, the foundation has supported projects in 13 different communities across New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania impacting over 2,500 youth.
Collectively, the Arman N Roy Foundation has donated over 100 devices such Chromebooks, iPads, virtual reality headsets, robotics kits and much more
The foundation was set to begin a tech training program for homeless youths when the coronavirus hit. Seemingly overnight schools closed leaving many children around the state without the means to participate in remote learning. Just like that, the importance of fulfilling Armans dream was as critical as it has ever been.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has made hope hard to find at times and the foundation for a boy whose name in Hindi means hope has risen to the occasion.
It pivoted to address immediate needs to help out families and children that need help. Some of its COVID-19 related projects include donating 10 iPads to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York to help connect patients in quarantine with their families and funding a project for 15-year-old Warren student Mathew Nunes, who is using 3D printers to make face shields for first responders. The funding for Nunes came through the foundations Armans Hope Jar program, where people can submit their projects online for potential funding.
It also has donated Chromebooks to Evas Village Hope Residence for Homeless Mothers in Paterson and Covenant House in Newark - a residential homeless shelter - as well as games, activities, books, and snacks to Visions and Pathways at Risk Youth Homeless Shelter in Bridgewater. It made monetary donations to Donors Chooses COVID-19 relief initiative and provided groceries and monetary donations to the Flemington Area Food Pantry.
The foundation plans to continue funding projects to help children in need as the coronavirus pandemic continues and beyond.
Arman knew that the digital divide existed and we created a foundation to help bridge the gap, Priya said. Then COVID happened and it almost reaffirmed that what we were doing was right and needed. We do feel like this all happened for a reason and that we are all connected in a larger way to really help others."
Mathew Nunes was selected as a recipient for funds from the Arman N Roy Foundation's Arman's Hope Jar project. The 15-year-old has been making face shields for first responders with 3D printers.Courtesy of Priya Roy
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Richard Greco covers Mercer County news for NJ.com and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Richard_V_Greco. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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