Update - October 2021
Grade A Plus is a survivor! Like many organizations that had to pivot as a result of COVID-19 pressing us into lock down, GAP has managed to slowly find its way out of the past and into the future. COVID, made us think differently about working with children and how to target the essential services our children need. Clearly, academic support was primary, but social connections were also vitally important.
Although we were operating in a Zoom environment, it provided a high point in the day's activity for many of the children enrolled in our program because they were free to talk, laugh, and learn at the same time. We saw a difference between the elementary student response to our program and the middle and high school student response. The secondary group is still struggling to recover even though they are attending school every day inside of a building. Perhaps it is a loss of innocence that we see in their eyes. But our children have been changed. We offered some in person activities during the summer and plan to have a few more starting in late October. We're hopeful families will obtain vaccines by the new year so we can return to In Person starting in the New Year. Perhaps, this will also restore some sense of security and safety to the mindset of our children.
COVID also expanded our view on what GAP can do. Now that our perception has expanded, our only limitation is needing more volunteers. For the first time in our 20 year existence, we have a wait list. We're trying to pivot again to maximize how we can accept all the students and families that want support, but without volunteers to offer 1-2 hours of their time to read, write, and do math with the students, we cannot admit all that want to join. With enrichment we can provide group support, but tutoring should not expand beyond a 1:3 ratio. We're currently looking at a 1:2 and thinking of ways to alter the timeframe from 60 minutes to 45 minutes per session in order to squeeze more students into the service. Some would say this is a good problem to have.
As we prepare to enter the new year, the next year of 2022, would you please consider making an intentional investment into the future of a child? If you have time, consider investing one hour a week for a number of weeks to help with tutoring or reading with a child next year, or if you have resources, consider investing in GAP through the many options we have available for receiving financial support i.e. (HMUW, COMOGIVES, Facebook fundraisers, Paypal Giving Fund, Missouri Tax Credits, or a check sent to us via our PO BOX).
What COVID has taught us is that we can have the future we imagine, if we start to create it ourselves, today!