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Boys & Girls Clubs help support parents amid move to online learning

Kristine Sorensen
August12/ 2020

Many parents are anxious about what they’re going to do with their children who are doing school online while they have to work.  The Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania is one of several organizations stepping up to help in this time of need.

Before COVID, school functioned as more than just a place to educate kids — it’s childcare. But with remote learning, that’s gone.

Dr. Lisa Abel-Palmieri, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, hears the stress from their families, 70% of whom are single parents.

“I think the anxiety level around how working parents, particularly single working parents, are going to be able to work and provide some sort of additional home learning support, is really worrisome to them,” she says.

Last year, Kidsburgh showcased the STEM programming at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania — which provides after-school programs for 12-thousand kids in 15 facilities across Allegheny County, and two new locations in Somerset County.

This fall, they’re opening ten sites during the day too, where kids can do their remote learning as well as other programs.

The maximum cost for the day program is 125 dollars a week, and there are scholarships to make it affordable for everyone.

“We very much pride ourselves on never turning away families in need.  It’s one of the things that makes Boys and Girls Clubs different,” Dr. Abel-Palmieri says.

At summer camps this year, the Boys & Girls Clubs enacted coronavirus safety measures like mask-wearing, temperature checks and mandatory hand-washing.

And it’s not just for K through 8 kids.  They have programming for preschoolers and teenagers too.

“Especially when high schools are not meeting in person, those sort of social and emotional (needs), and then the kind of counseling or post-secondary supports, that’s generally not going to be able to be the focus of a lot of schools,” Dr. Abel-Palmieri adds.

Enrollment has begun for existing Boys & Girls Club members and opens to everyone in some locations starting Aug. 14.

Kristine Sorensen

I am proud to work at KDKA-TV -- anchoring the news, hosting Pittsburgh Today Live and doing special reports. I am married to KDKA reporter Marty Griffin and we have 3 children. I first moved to Pittsburgh in 1999 but I’ve lived in Dallas, Johnson City, Tenn., Chicago, Williamsburg, Va., Milwaukee and Winter Park, Fla. Pittsburgh is now the place I call home.

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