The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt lives in many ways, but its effect on students has proven to be paramount. When schools closed, students fell further behind academically and parents have struggled to manage work obligations without access to consistent childcare.
Now students and parents in the Los Angeles Harbor area can overcome these educational challenges through the Learning Recovery Program supported by United Way of Greater Los Angeles with the generous contributions of Valero Wilmington Refinery andin partnership with community organizations Boys & Girls Clubs of Los Angeles Harbor, Strength Based Community Change (SBCC), and YMCA of Wilmington.
Program staff help students get online and provide additional help with subject matter. The program offers time and space to socialize with peers while maintaining social distance guidelines, as well as providing daily health checks. From kindergarteners to high school seniors, students can see one another, play and talk, and receive a free after-school meal. Parents can work—many in essential, in-person jobs—without worrying about who will care for their children.
The Learning Recovery Program is a predecessor of UWGLA’s Learning Pods program that provided care during school closures. Though schools have reopened, parents and students alike appreciate the extra help offered by these programs that allow students to gather in small groups at recreation centers and other program centers.
“United Way initially supported learning pods so students would have healthy, safe places to go, do their work, and have a meal with supportive adults available,” said Norma Rodriguez, Director, Education Programs and Policy of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “Two years later, learning recovery supports are still critical, including ongoing tutoring and social emotional learning support. Students have gone through so much. It’s crucial for them to continue to have safe places to go to in their community.”
“Education is an investment for life. We believe that investing in our youth through education is evermore so important, said Brissa Sotelo-Vargas, Director, Community Relations and Government Affairs, Valero Wilmington Refinery. “We are proud to invest in programs like Wilmington YMCA, the Boys & Girls Club of LA Harbor and SBCC. Valero chose to invest in the learning recovery because it is so important to continue the educational enrichment of each student and their families …we want to be here and we love our community.”