The Local Take: Boys And Girls Clubs Address COVID-19 Learning Gap
Saturday morning on WCLK's The Local Take we continue our coverage of COVID-19 in our community. With the return of in-person school and the rise of COVID-19 variants, this period focuses on children. Thankfully many systems in metro Atlanta have mask mandates in place. Science tells us that masks are essential to protect children under twelve who cannot be vaccinated. Hopefully, our 12 – to 17-year-olds are participating in the call to become vaccinated. Another detriment to our children was the virtual school environment last year. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta has a solution to the learning gaps experienced by many students. David Jernigan is the President and CEO of Metro Atlanta Boys & Girls Clubs.
I asked Jernigan to tell us about the program that came from a 15 million dollar grant from the State of Georgia and share their research on how the COVID19 Pandemic impacted learning for our students.
He shares that the COVID19 experience was a challenging environment for children socially and holistically. While some students were able to thrive with virtual learning, it was less than ideal for many.
I ask what parents can expect from this program and how listeners can take part. Jernigan says that there are 25 Boys& Girls Clubs across eleven counties. He speaks about their three pillars of academics, healthy lifestyle, along with leadership, and character. He shares how they helped with the virtual learning environment. The Boys & Girls Clubs opened so that students had access to wi-fi and adult assistance. They were also able to provide devices and decrease food insecurity.
Jernigan also shares information about their Career and College readiness program for teens. This program includes internships and college field trips. When I ask what’s next for the Boys and Girls Clubs, he shares that The Shaquille O’Neal Boys and Girls Club would be opening this month in Henry County, the first for the city of McDonough.