As the local school districts begin to publish their school schedules for this fall, I want to issue a resounding alarm about out-of-school-time care. The families served by Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio will be disproportionately impacted by staggered school schedules, as most do not have jobs with a work-from-home option. In fact, just 23% of Latino workers and 33% of Black workers have jobs that can be done from home.
Unless we are able to provide full day programming at our Clubhouses:
- Parents/caregivers will be unable to work.
- Young children will be left home alone when parents must work to feed their families and pay for housing.
- Low income students will fall further behind due to a lack of academic support, high speed internet, and technology required in a virtual learning environment.
- Juvenile crime will increase.
Long before the pandemic, low-income children and children of color faced serious inequities on their path to academic success. And these are the children at the heart of our mission – 97% of our Club kids are children of color and over 80% are from low income families.
Because equity and racial justice have always been at the core of our mission, we cannot sit idly by. Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio is uniquely positioned to help with our years of building relationships with families, learning resources and curriculum, and a trained and caring staff. Our programs ensure youth regardless of their color, income or neighborhood, have equitable access to the skills and opportunities needed to reach their full potential. Even as we have watched our families face unbelievable challenges this year, we are Inspired to Do More.
To ensure that the kids who need us most have academic support in the virtual learning environment, beginning August 17,2020, BGCSA is opening the “learning pod” program. Each small group will be guided by an Academic Aide and other staff to help them be successful in the virtual classroom, offer guidance, answer questions, and assist with technology issues. BGCSA will maintain the flexibility to shift our model as necessary to ensure that the most vulnerable school kids stay engaged in school and have the guidance they need in a supportive, stable environment that they can count on when their parents cannot be at home.
BGCSA is committed to providing the full day Learning Pod program for as long as San Antonio families need us, ensuring youth thrive in a virtual learning environment and parents have the support they need while they work to provide for their families. Will you join us today in ensuring that every child, regardless of their zip code, ethnicity, and income level has a safe place to achieve academic success during this challenging school year?
Together, we will get through this.