New program to help feed, educate kids

North Carolina

Southeast / North Carolina 31 Views

A new after-school program to help feed and educate local school students is coming to the historic Winston Mutual Building.

The first floor of the building is home to both Community Intervention & Educational Services – whose family services include supervised visitation and also  includes the COOL (Creating Opportunities for Others to Learn) Program for domestic violence offenders –  and the nonprofit Eliza’s Helping Hands (EHH), which helps victims in abusive relations. Those agencies, both founded by Kenya Thornton, are teaming up with McBride Somos Consulting, which provides a variety of educational services, for a new, daily after-school program slated to start in February.

The program will offer a healthy meal and snack and numerous educational activities that appeal to a variety of learning styles. Students will be accessed to discover their style of learning and will make individual goals. Students who go through the 10-week curriculum may then become leaders for others in the program. Thornton said it’ll start with 15 students from clients she serves, with plans to expand in the future.

“We like to be a part of anything that lets the community grow and we enjoy helping others, not just in this community, but anyone who wants to help children grow, families grow, because, of course, it’s an investment in the community,” said Thornton, “If you have healthy families, you have a healthy city.”

Thornton said 60 percent of her clients are on food stamps and many request food assistance. According to statistics from Second Harvest Food Bank, nearly a quarter of children in Forsyth County experience food insecurity and nearly half receive free or reduced lunch at school.

McBride Somos’ Yamile McBride said hunger can have a big impact on children’s ability to learn.

“I’ve been in education for 18 years, and one of the biggest things I believe in is social and emotional well-being in education because I’ve worked for Title1 schools … and what I’ve noticed is once I’m able to get to the kids’ level of need … they were putty,” she said.

McBride said that the Winston Mutual Building will be the first location to open, but she’s working on getting similar programs going in two other locations in the county. She’s applied for state assistance to help pay for the food but also needs the community to support the effort with volunteers and donations of food and resources. They’re hoping to expose the students to a variety of activities like arts and crafts, swimming and gardening. Organizers are also hoping to find inspiring community leaders to speak to the students.  Ideally, they’d like to have a bus to transport students on field trips. Currently they’re looking for a caterer to prepare the meals.

Anyone wishing to donate or help with the program can contact McBride at (336) 251-5275 or mcbridesomos@nullgmail.com.

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