With schools shuttered statewide to slow the spread of Coronavirus, many families face the unique challenges of remote learning for the first time. A number of United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) partner agencies, however, have stepped up to help students stay connected…and maybe even give parents a much-needed break.
These partners are working to fill potential gaps in online learning by creating new educational content. Girls, Inc. of Central Alabama, for example, has launched a “Virtual Academy” on YouTube with classes in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), literacy, art and even fitness. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham is hosting a weekly story time each Wednesday at 1 p.m. on its Facebook page. Childcare Resources, a Birmingham-based nonprofit designed to connect families with quality care and education, is using its blog to help parents and children alike adjust to life under quarantine with fun learning activities as well as important, topical issues, such as how to talk to children about the COVID-19 crisis. Easterseals of the Birmingham Area, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the lives of children and adults with disabilities or other special needs, is using Facebook to share a love of learning, including tips and tricks for parents in addition to educational content for children.
Another valuable service UWCA partner agencies are providing during the pandemic is to curate collections of educational content. In addition to its weekly story hour, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham is using its social media channels to share resources, such as the Ultimate Stuck at Home, Social Distancing Fun with Kids Guide from Macaroni Kid South Birmingham, a local newsletter and website focused on fun family events and activities. Meanwhile, The Literacy Council of Birmingham has launched Let’s Keep Learning, which compiles resources related to literacy for all ages. And The Greater Alabama Council of Boy Scouts is also working to take things inside by composing a Google Spreadsheet of online learning resources.
These and other United Way agencies have quickly responded to immediate needs and very fluid circumstances. This quick action is over and above normal programming and operating budgets. To support the vital and timely work of these agencies, you can donate to United Way of Central Alabama’s Community Crisis Fund. You can also stay up to date on the community response and other resources at the Response and Resources page, or find volunteer opportunities (including remote options) on INVOLVE, our online volunteer platform.