PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Virtual learning has been a struggle for many students of the past year, and the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a widening achievement gap.
Sorting through supplies and stuffing backpacks and boxes, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County is kicking off its Back-To-School Drive to help young club members overcome the challenges caused by COVID-19.
"Some kids have thrived in virtual. I think the majority are struggling with it and particularly the population we’re serving," said Deborah Leach-Scampavia, the grant specialist for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County.
The club launched the drive on Monday and partnered with GL Homes, which kicked off the campaign by donating $10,000.
"The summer vacation is shorter this year due to the pandemic and that's why we need to kickstart this school supply drive now before this schools year ends. So we don't miss a beat come fall," said Sarah Alsofrom, the director of community relations for GL Homes.
The club's focus is closing the achievement gap caused by virtual learning.
Teachers are calling it the "COVID Slide" and found that students in underserved communities have been impacted the hardest.
"For our kids ages six to 18, some of them are months behind academically, some of them are as much as a year behind academically," Leach-Scampavia said.
So now, the Boys and Girls Clubs is bringing in extra teachers to work with club members over the summer, and asking for the community's help donating and collecting 2,400 backpacks filled with supplies so students are ready and can start the new school year successfully.
"Now you got that shiny new backpack and it's filled with the materials you need to start school, that's critically important for our kids," Leach-Scampavia said.
There are several in-person drop-off locations around Palm Beach County as well as a virtual component this year. For more information, click here.