Pop up ‘schools’ at churches, banks, conference rooms as parents prepare for more remote learning

Pop up ‘schools’ at churches, banks, conference rooms as parents prepare for more remote learning

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With just a few days left before the first day of school, many parents are putting together the final pieces in their back to school plan.

Several schools districts in the Charlotte area, including CMS are going back to school fully remote, leaving parents who work full time in a bind.

One Charlotte mom saw a need and decided she was the right person to step in and help. Her idea is now called Camp EDvantage. She says she understands the needs of working parents, because she is one, and that’s why this camp is being offered for free.

“I want these kids to feel like they have a community that cares about them and educated and wants them to be safe,” said Bonnie Little, who started the remote learning camp.

Camp EDvantage works like this. Monday through Thursday, parents can drop off their school-aged kids from 8am - 1pm, where they will be monitored by an adult volunteer. These camps are taking place all over the Cornelius, Huntersville and Mooresville area, including in church common spaces and bank conference rooms.

Little is a mom to five kids and is a working nurse. She realized back in June with the amount of COVID-19 cases in the area, not all schools would be opening up.

“Were testing left and right positive COVID all day long, there’s no way these schools are going to open up,” said Little. “Of this would have happened to me during my divore, what would I have done? I would have been in so much trouble.”

And that’s when she had the idea to reach out the community to ask for support. Within hours she already had two locations secured and dozens of people wanting to volunteer. Then the organization Make an Impact stepped in to provide support when it comes to organizing as they have a background in hosting camps.

“A lot of parents have to work, we don’t want them to have to choose between their children and being able to work,” said Deborah McKee with Make an Impact. “We just want to help those people, they might be barely making it because of everything else going on, why not give them a help up or a helping hand?”

It’s a helping hand Little could have used herself.

“Anyone looking at me 10 years ago, in nursing school, going through a divorce, would never know I was going through a food banks every Thursday picking up food for my family.”

Little knows others are silently struggling through the pandemic as well. That’s why she says she’s giving back.

The Camp is being run fully by volunteers to keep the cost of it free to families and sack lunches are being provided for students. The camp has enough spaces for more than 200 students to safely practice remote learning.

Camp EDvantage is looking for more volunteers.

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