While talking to her long-distance friend about how students are coping with social isolation during the COVID-19 shelter in place, Anu Prasad developed the idea for Bezzie. In quarantine, students get much less social interaction than they would going to school each day. Using video calls is a great way to keep in touch with friends and feel connected. This is where Bezzie comes in: Bezzie connects children with high school volunteers to create a student-mentor bond but also a strong friendship. Kids are able to develop the social and verbal skills that are crucial during their adolescent years as well as prevent feelings of isolation.
Since its opening on May 11, Bezzie has received over 200 volunteer applications and is continuing to expand its team. The first few pairings have already been made, with sessions already going on. Volunteers come from countries all around the world like Malta and Germany. Through Bezzie, Prasad has had the opportunity to talk to and meet new people and learn about their lives and diverse cultures.
By starting Bezzie, Prasad has also had the opportunity to dive into marketing. She began by simply sending texts to her friends and group chats. From there, word began to spread, and people sent volunteer applications to their other friends. Prasad discovered that the up-and-coming platform Tik Tok was the most effective for marketing. By a stroke of luck, one of their volunteers saw a video on Tik Tok that told viewers about online volunteer opportunities and commented about Bezzie. The organization then gained over 100 volunteers in a week. Bezzie has recently decided to start offering volunteer hours to those who made Tik Tok videos and let parents who might be interested know about Bezzie. Additionally, a volunteer of the month program has been implemented to award those who go the extra mile.