Digital Exclusive: Girls Inc. provides an educational program during pandemic for Siouxland girls

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – One local non-profit organization has decided to help fill a gap for parents in the community who have children signed up for 100% virtual learning but may not be able to stay home with them.

Girls Inc. has their Learning Hub program, a full-day program where girls in grades K-5 in any school district can connect to their teachers through Wi-Fi.

“After they’re done with their classes, they are involved in many additional activities that are normal through Girls Inc. For example, STEM, our science programs, sports, arts, and crafts. We have lots of different online learning opportunities for them,” said Mandy Engel-Cartie, Girls Inc.

Engel-Cartie said they’re able to have the Learning Hub program during the pandemic by having smaller classes, mask requirements, and health checks and screenings.

The educational program works by having the girls come and connect to their virtual classes and teachers, with staff members helping them while also having extra programs around their classes.

“They come in and do their virtual learning, and I’m here to basically help them with their homework. We work on programs here [such as] MediaSmarts, we learn about nutrition and things like that,” said Libby Jerbik, a program specialist at Girls Inc.

The Learning Hub program provides girls the ability to do their virtual learning and have social interaction with other kids in a smaller group.

“Schoolwork is really fun. My teacher does a lot of fun things, and we do our school work, we do tests, and I want to get really good grades. My friends, we get to talk and say a lot of funny things to each other and play with them at the gym,” said Hazel, a 5th grader.

“That I get to spend time with my favorite teachers and I get to do my classes on my computer and spend time with my friends…So I can understand online learning, and I can have fun,” said Dianysis, a 4th grader.

Engel-Cartie mentions parents have said the girls in the educational program are doing very well academically, socially, and keeping up in school.

“They’re right in line. We have some who are excelling and who love it. A couple of girls have told us they don’t want to go back to school and that they love this model. We’re here as a stop-get measure. We won’t be doing this forever, but if it helps people now during this crisis, that’s what we really want to do.,” said Engel-Cartie.

The Learning Hub program goes Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Girls Inc. located on 500 Main Street with limited enrollment.

For more information on the 2021 Learning Hub program, visit their website or call 712-252-1088.

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