In response to the challenges families and students face as a result of COVID-19 and the switch to distance learning, Neighborhood House has partnered with Comcast to create the Lift Zone Distance Learning Program to provide a safe and supervised space for youth to receive help navigating online learning during the day.
Because parents and working parents aren’t always able to assist their children with distanced learning, the new program serves to fill this gap by providing support to students Monday to Friday each week. “We are here to help alleviate [parents’] concerns so that they can work during the day,” says Amy Moua, youth worker and program administrator.
“The overall goal of this program is to provide academic support to students and develop positive relationships with participants and staff,” says Amy. “We understand that virtual learning can be difficult, so we strive to help students have a positive virtual learning experience.”
“Many of the participants miss the in-person learning environment of classrooms,” shares Amy. “Although we are not a formal classroom, [students] have expressed that they are able to focus better on their schoolwork while they are here.
Safety precautions are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks, social distancing, enhanced cleaning procedures, and frequent hand washing are all required. Students sit at distanced workstations complete with shields and receive PPE to keep them safe. The Wellstone Center has also provided enhanced room-specific air purification.
Program staff provide social and academic support, as well as tailored life skills based on students’ interests. After completing their schoolwork, students can participate in arts and crafts, physical activities, games, movie days, and virtual field trips.
“What excites me most about this program is simply having the opportunity to see participants come in every day ready to tackle their daily assignments,” Amy says. “It’s also rewarding to see the excitement on their faces when they have reached their goal of completing their class assignments and are ready to take a break and do arts and crafts or play board games.”
The Lift Zone Distance Learning Program is still accepting participants. The program is open to K-12 students currently enrolled in Saint Paul Public Schools, with priority given to students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. If you would like to register or have any questions, please contact Amy Moua at 651-789-2552 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.neighb.org.