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BGCD launch back to school support!

Learning Clusters Offer Community Based Educational Collaboration for those Most in Need

Dorchester, MA- As children prepare to re-enter school this fall, both in person and virtually, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester (BGCD) is working to develop meaningful ways to address the many challenges families will face. BGCD is designing learning clusters to support K-8 students as they adapt to distance learning.

We have heard from our families and the need is clear, educational support for their children is their number one concern,” Brendan McDonald, BGCD Vice President of Programming said. “Our team is proud to be able to fill this need and offer the services our families deserve – proving that together we can do more to help close the gaps in equity when we work collaboratively to help ensure every child’s success.”

The Club staff will engage cohorts of up to 12 students grouped by grade level to support remote learning for families in need of full-day programming this fall. Additional activities include arts & crafts, stem, health/wellness/fitness, outdoor play, and more.

“As Boston Public Schools plan for modified learning plans this school year – many families will need support to make it work for them and their children when classes start next week, ” said Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester Senior Vice President of Education and Programming Mary Kinsella Scannell. “We see the need and are working with families to develop a comprehensive plan to provide safe, supportive, and meaningful programs. Our hope is that the proposed Learning Clusters will help to alleviate stress, support children’s social-emotional wellbeing and address educational inequalities as we continue to battle the COVID 19 pandemic.”

Learning clusters will include; safe physical locations, healthy meals and snacks, caring staff, structure, routine, and daily schedules, social-emotional well-being/mental health support, WiFi connectivity and computer access, as well as gross motor-physical fitness activities, academic support (homework help/tutoring), and enrichment activities.

In March the club quickly adapted, transforming its ways to serve youth and families across Dorchester and beyond. BGCD has distributed nearly 15,000 Grab & Go Meals Distributed, hosted over 400 Virtual Program Videos and Zoom Lessons, and delivering diapers and formula to hundreds of families. The club reopened in July with limited capacity serving 245 children and providing 100 teens with summer jobs.

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Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and Caught in Dot and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.