RICHMOND, Va. -- Faith Community Baptist Church transformed its sanctuary into a learning lab during the COVID-19 pandemic so students could come in and do virtual learning there.
Church leaders said though the school year isn’t over, they’re already planning ahead and preparing to guide students through the summer and into next school year.
With that in mind, they're asking for help from the community.
Patricia Gould-Champ, who founded the program, said in addition to helping students with schoolwork, they are keenly aware of the need to help them through the other challenges students have faced during the pandemic.
"Our children have undergone a lot of trauma this past year," Dr. Gould Champ said. "Sometimes it may show up in forms where you think it's one thing, but it's their reaction to the trauma of not being able to play with children and being isolated to a degree."
Thinking beyond this school year, leaders are planning for a summer of enrichment programs for the k-5 students. They'll focus on reading, mindfulness, and the arts.
That’s where community volunteers are needed.
"Stay Connected, Stay on Point is doing a summer gathering for six weeks, where we want to focus on reading," she said. "We also want to focus on being able to release some of the trauma. So, we are going to do yoga, meditation and we are going to do art. We are going to do music to allow the children to release some of the tension and the kind of anxiety that we've seen them experience during this past year."
As they plan to send the 27 students home for Spring Break, Dr. Gould Champ said they’ll provide backpacks full of items that can help get the kids through the week. She said volunteers will come and help them pack the bags, however, they still need donations.
They are collecting individual bottles of hand sanitizer, wipes, Visa gift cards, and a few other items.
"They will get the backpacks stuffed with items. A t-shirt and we want to include things like kids' face masks and tissues for them. They love apples and fruit. We want to get them the three-pound bags of clementines and bags of apples to take with them," Dr. Gould-Champ said.
Those interested in donating can drop items off at Faith Community Baptist Church at 1903 Cool Lane.
Someone will be there Tuesday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Those interested in volunteering with the summer enrichment program should contact the church at 804-649-7225.