Family Promise launches Virtual Learning Academy to support families through pandemic

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)— Many schools are offering remote learning for the upcoming school year to keep students and teachers safe. Because of limited resources and time constraints, some families are struggling to ensure their children are getting the education they need.

Family Promise of the Coastal Empire is offering solutions for families facing the demands of work, school, and keeping their children safe and healthy.

The organization is creating a Virtual Learning Academy for parents who work but cannot leave their children home alone.

“We knew how that would impact the families that we serve,” Bostick said. “For our students, we wanted to make sure we were able to support them from an academic standpoint as well as from a technology standpoint.”

The program is open to families currently enrolled in Family Promise’s program as well as families who have finished the program and transitioned to permanent housing.

“For our families that have experienced an episode of homelessness, the first year of going back into permanent housing can also be a very difficult year,” Family Promise Executive Director Katrina Bostick said.

“So we want to make sure we support those families that have transitioned out into permanent housing so that they can continue to work and maintain their independence and self-sufficiency,” she added.

Space will be limited to seven to 10 students depending on staff capabilities and will be available for any child under the age of 18.

“We have desktops and we are looking to have Chromebooks to be able to support the students,” Bostick said. “And of course, we have wifi on-site, so that won’t be a barrier for students as well.”

Bostick says they’re seeking volunteers to make sure students receive the help they need through the school day.

“From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., students will be engaged in instructional learning. We’re looking for volunteers for our block from 8-12 and then from 12-3. We will definitely have lunch and break times for the children and we will definitely practice social distancing,” Bostick said.

In addition to volunteer monitors, Family Promise seeks funding for the new initiative. Bostick estimates a one-time donation of $250 will cover the cost of one student’s attendance at Family Promise’s Virtual Learning Academy.

Family Promise is also holding a technology drive to ensure students have the devices needed to learn remotely.

Anyone interested in volunteering as a program monitor or donating to help fund the Virtual Learning Academy can email volunteer@familypromisece.org or call 912-790-9446.

Family Promise works to reduce the number of families who are separated when struggling with finding means to live. Now, the organization is expanding its mission beyond providing meals and shelter for families.

They also offer mentoring, homelessness-prevention programs and services, and initiatives to address the underlying causes of homelessness. Family Promise’s goal is to keep families together while offering support and resources for long-term independence.

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