When we first learned that our county made the decision to have school online, we knew it would pose real challenges for many of our teenage friends. We wanted to help, so we began dreaming of a way that we, as Young Life Charlotte Urban, could respond and be a resource for the kids in our community.
Our solution was to offer a safe and conducive environment for students to be able to focus on their studies during this trying time.
We call it “YL Bridging The Gap.”
Our goal is to provide students reliable internet, computers, breakfast, lunch, and specialized job & life skills training. This gives our Young Life leaders an incredible opportunity to do contact work three days a week, and it also provides parents eight hours/day to be able to work and provide for their family.
Students have the opportunity to engage with their teachers online for instruction and then have in-person help to complete their assignments. Once they are done with their assigned school work, we also have the opportunity to expose them to additional subjects including professionalism, public speaking, and more! And we do all this with the traditional Young Life elements of sharing Christ and having fun!
We are so grateful for having a church like First Baptist Charlotte who is not only providing the space, but has also upgraded their internet to ensure students have an adequate learning experience. For so many of our teenage friends, the lack of internet has been a barrier for them when it comes to virtual learning. Just in the five schools that YL Charlotte Urban gets to serve, there were more than 2,000 students that never even logged during the first weeks of school. Not only is First Baptist providing and upgrading the space for high schoolers, but they are also creating similar space for elementary and middle school students.
Our commitment is to make sure that all parties participating in “YL Bridging The Gap” are participating in a safe environment, so we have certain requirements for students:
- Each student is asked to adhere to all the protocols outlined by the CDC.
- We provide transportation where needed: (face masks are required and waivers signed by parents). Staff or qualified volunteers who have completed background checks are our drivers.
- Each student will have their temperature checked daily prior to entering the facility or vehicle.
- Each student is required to wear a face mask throughout the entirety of the day.
- We practice social distancing and desks are set up more than 6 feet apart.
- Hand sanitizer is provided and used regularly.
- Our staff disinfects the area regularly.
- We provide 2 meals per day (breakfast and lunch) for each student.
- We provide refillable water bottles and all meals are boxed.
- We take breaks outside to allow for safer social distancing and air circulation.
- We meet Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 7:30-3:30pm.
- Each day is limited to 20 students.
Churches, families, and businesses in the community are pitching in to help donate meals, computers, headphones, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, masks, and additional supplies.
If you have questions and would like to start a similar program in your community, feel free to contact Young Life Charlotte Urban here.
If you’ve been innovating in your Young Life area and would like to pass those ideas on to thousands of Young Life leaders around the world, email us here!