How to Create an Educational Haven for Students During Pandemic
The sun rose on a new day Oct. 21, 2020, offering an exciting opportunity for up to 12 children who attend Garfield Elementary in Spokane, Washington. Spokane Central Church's after-school team had found a way to support students even during the pandemic.
The church's STEAM Ahead at Discovery Junction program — an after-school enrichment program offering activities in science, technology, engineering, arts and math for low-income children — has temporarily closed because of COVID-19. Gayle Haeger, Sharon Ammon and others who have faithfully provided time and resources for Discovery Junction shifted their focus to offering real-time learning support. Rather than offering after-school care, the team created a safe place for children to connect to Wi-Fi as they attend online school each morning.
BethAnn Moseanko is heading up this vital five-mornings-a-week support program until the COVID-19 risk lowers and the public school reopens. Without this assist, these children could potentially lose a full year of school. Discovery Junction considers it a privilege and opportunity for churches to change the life of neighborhood children. So far eight children are participating.
Pivoting to this new ministry, an additional need became evident: The children were hungry. Now Discovery Junction offers breakfast each morning as well as school support.
Any church can provide a service like this. Three simple things are needed:
- A safe place
- Two screened, caring volunteers each day
- Wi-Fi internet
The public school provides students with iPads, earphones and educational programming. The school also communicates with families and works out transportation.
Consider welcoming children in need to your church as you would Jesus, for “whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me …” (Mark 9:37, NIV).