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Marion County NAACP launches virtual learning camp program

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 5:37 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - Roughly 33 percent of Marion County students have signed up for virtual learning this year, but some parents may be concerned with leaving their child home alone.

That’s why the President of the NAACP branch of Marion County and Senior Paster at Greater New Hope Church in Ocala’s Silver Springs Shores area - James David Stockton - has helped to create what they’re calling ‘virtual learning camps.’

NAACP member Narvella Haynes came forward to the organization’s Education Committee with the idea, Stockton explained.

“What we saw was that a lot of our parents who were concerned about their children going back to brick and mortar but then also had to work, so how can we make sure stay focused and faithful to education while mom and dad are at work,” Stockton said.

The virtual learning program provides a safe place for students to work and study during their virtual school day, Stockton said, but parents should know that the volunteers don’t teach the students, but instead offer support and supervision.

“We have them socially distance, we take temperatures, we feed them, we support them in staying connected to and staying focused online to their curriculum,” he added.

The New Zion Missionary Baptist Church - which School Board Chair Rev. Eric Cummings pastors - and Tabernacle of Deliverance are also open as part of this initiative, but they need more volunteers - like Deneen Myers - to be successful.

“I thought it was important for parents to have a safe monitored environment for them to take their children especially if they have to work, me being one of those parents, I have two children here myself,” Myers said.

Stockton also said there may be an opportunity to create a community garden where students can take a break from the books and let their creative mind take over, “And at some of our other sites, they’ll do the window box gardens and we’re working with some organizations that are partnering with us to create extra curricular activities,” he said.

All ages from kindergarten to high school are welcome to sign up, but space is limited as only 25 are allowed inside to allow for proper social distancing.

Meals and personal protective equipment will also be provide by donations to the church.

Students can be dropped off as early as 7 a.m. Stockton said, but parents will need to pick up their students when the school day is over.

Copyright 2020 WCJB. All rights reserved.

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