Hampton Roads hotline helps with homework
By: David Ibata
Sorry, kids – just because all the schools are closed because of COVID-19 doesn’t mean homework is over. In light of that, the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Norfolk, Virginia, continues its after-school homework assistance program virtually, through a Homework Help Hotline.
“We know how incredibly stressful it is for parents to be home with their children, trying to teach them, keeping them active and entertained and also doing their own stuff,” said Marleen Mallory, assistant program director for the Hampton Roads Area Command.
“We thought this would be something parents and the community would appreciate, to continue to engage them when they can’t come in our doors.”
Youngsters enrolled in weekday after-school activities like the Heartstrings and Valves music education program have been coming to the Kroc Center straight from school. They’ve worked on their reading, language arts and math assignments – with adult arts and education staffers on hand to help – and then had dinner and went to their enrichment classes.
That daily routine came to an abrupt halt with the novel coronavirus outbreak in mid-March. By the end of April, everything – schools, libraries and the Kroc Center – had been shut down for six weeks. All this time, the Norfolk Public Schools had been sending home packets of schoolwork.
Some kids, and their parents, have struggled, especially with difficult subjects like mathematics. To assist them, the Kroc Center invites families with children from first through fifth grade to call the Homework Help line, 757-622-KROC. It takes calls from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Wednesday.
“We engage by phone, so everyone’s kept safe,” said Josie Showers, Hampton Roads program director. “Tiffany Carter, our activities coordinator, has been manning the phones 90 percent of the time. Others take over when she’s had to step away. Parents also can leave a message – their name, phone number, and what kind of help their child needs.”
The outreach will continue for as long as it’s needed.
“We base most of our activities on the Norfolk Public Schools calendar, though we have children from other areas as well,” Showers said. “The last day of school ordinarily would have been June 16 or 17. As long as the schools continue to send out homework packets, we’ll be a resource to the community.”