CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Many Northeast Ohio schools are starting the school year with virtual learning.
But many parents who have to return to work can’t stay home with their children.
When kids reenter the Boys & Girls Club in North Broadway in a few weeks, they’ll see something new.
“We just think this gives our kids a sense of community.” said Jeff Scott, CEO of Boys & Girls Club of NEO.
The organization will open ClubSmart Learning Centers in 11 of its 39 locations in Northeast Ohio.
Each site will come equipped with laptops and access to the internet.
“Providing kids with digital access, we think is a way that we can reinvent ourselves to provide an even better service to our communities, ongoing...not just right now when the need is very acute, as we’re seeing with the digital divide.” said Scott.
A gap that is far and wide in our area.
According to Scott, Northeast Ohio is the fourth worst connected region in the U.S., with 70% of homes not having internet access.
Now having a place to connect for youngsters means something much greater.
Scott says, ”We also think that it eases the mental stress on our kids and gives them creative outlets to other traditional Boys & Girls Club programming that we can provide in between curriculum.”
The Boys & Girls Club will foot the bill with these resources, but it comes at a big cost.
Scott says help from the community is also welcomed.
“In addition to that, we need more desks, we need chairs, we need hot spots, we need gear, we need computer equipment...carts with power strips, etc. It’s definitely a pivot on our operating model, top to bottom.” says Scott.
As many as 1,000 kids will take advantage of this new resource. Times haven’t been set as to how long the organization will operate throughout the day. The program will begin on Sept. 8.