Community Learning Site initiative extended through December to offer no-cost, weekday support to students

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INDIANAPOLIS – Schools are keeping close watch on what happens next with the pandemic. As cases rise, there are some concern that kids could head back to learning at home.

That’s pushed education leaders in Indianapolis to extend the community learning sites to help families during this uncertain time.

No-cost childcare and learning support isn’t easy to find. Parents are having to decide what’s best for their child, whether that’s learning in the classroom, at home, or supervised at a community learning site, like what’s available in Marion County.

“We’re able to work with them to give them the one-on-one assistance that they need,” said Carla Gunning, a former teacher who is spending her time helping kids at The Reset Center on the Far Eastside.

“The parents know that they’re in a safe environment where their child is being cared for and most importantly, they’re being educated,” she added.

Over the last seven weeks Gunning has been one of the many facilitators who have offered free eLearning support and childcare to roughly 500 Marion County families. As schools begin to reopen the plan was to close these sites down by the end of this week, until this announcement by the city of Indianapolis and The Mind Trust.

“Any student from any background from any zip code has access to a safe environment in which to learn,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett during the press conference on Thursday.

Due to the high demand for the sites, Mayor Hogsett joined The Mind Trust to announce additional funding to keep the initiative running through December 17. It’s an $88,000 investment, which includes a $24,000 contribution from the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation.

“Imagine a mom or a dad who has no PTO left or we see numbers may be spiking, it’s only equitable to keep this open for families who might need it,” added Patrick Jones, the Senior Vice President of Leadership and Equity for The Mind Trust.

Pastor Howard Harding of The Reset Center said, “We had a waiting list of 112 people in two weeks. 112. I had to keep telling people there’s nothing I can do at this point. That broke my heart, because I feel like if we come together there’s something we can do.”

Keeping the doors open for those parents who aren’t comfortable sending their child back to school just yet, but need help navigating the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“The needs are there,” said Gunning, “To give them that support they need to make sure they stay on level.”

The three extended sites will provide access on the west, near east, and far east sides of Indianapolis. The Christamore House, Cornerstone Lutheran Church, and The Reset Center sites will continue to be open at no cost.

Click here for additional information and how to register.

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