After Forever Yogurt in Andersonville reopened to customers during the coronavirus pandemic, owner Naiem Rizek wanted to thank his customers for their loyalty.
“If it wasn’t for them, where would we be right now? I’d be closed, honest to God,” said Rizek.
When the father of two saw students across the country struggling with internet access, he decided to offer free Wi-Fi for Chicago students during the school year.
Not only is the internet free, Rizek has converted the cafe room in the back of the store to a study lounge.
Forever Yogurt Andersonville is also offering printing, pencils, markers, sanitizer and gloves for students and artists who use the room.
All of it is free. No purchases necessary.
“We always offer the kids free water, milk and orange juice. We’re giving them snacks here and there,” said General Manager Emilo Vasquez.
A sign is posted on the front door of the Andersonville frozen yogurt on Clark Street, letting students know about the free resources being offered.
“For some of our friends it was hard getting our work and doing our work and turning it in because some of them don’t have Wi-Fi,” said student Willa Marie O’Donnell.
“I think that’s really nice because I think everyone is having a hard time right now. I think it's helpful,” said student Julia Lewandowski.
Rizek says there’s plenty of space for social distancing inside. Masks are required.
He is now talking to other Andersonville businesses on Clark Street in hopes they will follow their lead.
Rizek is also asking students to pay the generosity forward.
“We don’t need anything but a smile and good grades,” said Rizek.