Nassau County, NY – August 27th, 2021 – AT&T and two local Long Island organizations, 3D’s Aftercare, Inc and Toddlewood Studios, partnered to create an innovative digital literacy and education summer program designed to help local students impacted by the digital divide, address equality issues in the technology sector, and support local Black-owned businesses by developing digital content they can use for commercials. The AT&T Junior Digital Content Creator Program was designed by the stakeholders to encourage more underserved and diverse students to enter the field of technology, an industry that has long faced a pervasive diversity gap, while supporting local Black-owned businesses on Long Island. The program provided 50 students from underrepresented communities, aged 8-12 years old from various towns of Nassau County an opportunity to gain digital literacy and readiness skills through a unique technology-focused, immersive experience creating digital content. The program also encouraged students to explore STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) educational and career paths. The free two-month long program was made possible by financial support and programming collaboration from AT&T as part of the company’s recently announced $2 billion nationwide commitment to help bridge the digital divide and homework gap.
Over 10 years, Toddlewood, created by renowned photographer and director, Tricia Messeroux, has been recreating high profile individuals in entertainment, politics and media with their doppleganger kids age 5-12. Toddlewood’s focus is to creatively empower kids of all ages to make a difference in their lives and give them a “red carpet dreams come true” attitude no matter what their circumstance by educating them in a fun and artful way about past and present influential role models.
Tricia Messeroux as CEO and creative director of Toddlewood Studios, also runs a full service creative marketing and production company…The TMezz Creative Group, which consists of videographers, video editors, graphic designers, art directors, hair and make-up team and PA’s. This firm provides small, mid and large brands with strategic and creative solutions. The TMezz Creative Group has recently funded and is in production with two video series under their new department solely focusing on content and new show development.
Using these new talents, students worked with four Nassau County Black-owned businesses that were hit by COVID to create digital commercials, helping each business establish a larger online brand identity and increase sales. The students worked with industry professionals, The TMezz Creative Group to create, film, edit, script write and develop creative content for the commercials and worked with the business owners to understand their business and advertising needs. The students rotated the roles and responsibilities of stage managers, directors, camera operators, lighting technicians, interviewers, and acting talent. Each business will receive a free 30 – 45 second fully produced commercial and a 15-minute video interview between a student and the owner on what makes their business distinctive or different. The four-businesses that participated in this project are:
Quintessential Boutique, Oceanside – a hair salon and boutique with an online store featuring the latest trends.
Swirl Bliss, Baldwin – An independently owned business offering something for everyone; frozen yogurt, non dairy bubble teas, fruit smoothies, Acai bowls, protein shakes and much more. Taste it, Swirl it, Feel the Bliss
Sweet & Savory Café, Baldwin – A family owned coffee hybrid cafe that is committed to providing exceptional food, drinks and world class service. SnS is a little shop that helps to connect community, builds dreams, develop legacy and offers great bites
StrongHER – a certified personal training business offering nutrition consulting, group fitness classes and personal training for women.