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Meeting the Challenge of Distance Learning

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In fall 2020, Woodland joined our partners at The Lift and Close to My Heart daycare to begin a distance learning program for 32 students who were grades K-6 with one 7th grader. Many of you will remember our Working Parents Fundraiser that raised money to help support the effort. Now that many of these students have returned to in-person learning we want you to know just what an impact you helped make for these families during the height of COVID.

Tackling distance learning was a big challenge for kids and grown-ups alike. Students came from ten different schools across four different districts. Each district and school had different requirements and each student had their own individualized meetings, technology needs and schedules. On top of that, everyone was getting used to the new protocols for health screenings, wearing masks and social distance. Talk about chaotic! But after a few weeks of patience, flexibility and a lot of flow charts, everyone was hitting their groove.

This partnership wasn’t just about helping kids through the logistical challenges of online learning, it was also about nurturing relationships.

One little girl who struggled  through a rough start was able to catch up with some staff help. When a staff member said, “I’m so proud of you,” she answered, “I’m proud of me too! When I grow up, I’m going to be a teacher and a coach!”

In-person connection is crucial for any child’s ability to learn, and the individual attention was especially important for kindergarteners who were just learning to read. This program was also critical for parents, helping to relieve the huge stress of juggling school and jobs.

Paula Bowlby, Woodland’s Associate Children’s Pastor and staff liaison for the partnership said, “I am so proud and impressed with the Close to My Heart Staff and the Lift staff and all they have accomplished. This partnership was one of the highlights of 2020 for me. I appreciate all who gave to support this effort, you truly made a difference in many lives, including mine.”

Although only a few students remain in distance learning today, The Lift and Close to My Heart continue to build relationships with these children through after-school games and homework help.

Thanks to each one of you who made this partnership possible. Distance learning was a huge challenge, and it was an honor to be able to help so many families over the last several months!

It’s also worth noting that in addition to the distance learning program that was offered, Close To My Heart offers daycare throughout the summer and school year. If you’re interested in learning more, you can visit their website here.

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