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Community Learning Sites project extended for IPS students

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Mind Trust, a local nonprofit, and its community partners created Community Learning Sites for families in need after Indianapolis Public Schools announced students would have to shift to e-learning for the school year.

With a $200,000 investment, sites opened to families in August, and with the help of another big investment of $88,000, they’ll be able to continue helping the community.

The other two sites involved with this initiative are the Christamore House on the city’s west side and Cornerstone Lutheran Church, operated by the Shepherd Community Center.

Originally the program was supposed to end in October. Now the three Community Learning Sites will continue to serve students through December.

“For us it’s an equity issue,” The Mind Trust Senior Vice President of Leadership and Equity, Patrick Jones, said. “Making sure families have the agency to choose something for their children. Imagine a family who’s father or mother doesn’t have any PTO left and you have to ask yourself where do those kids go if there’s no school? If they want their kids to remain safe from COVID where do they go? It’s just great to be a part of a team with The Mind Trust that decided to stand in the gap and make sure they had space to go.”

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Pastor Howard Harding, Executive Director of The Reset Center and Indianapolis native says he didn’t hesitate to step up to the challenge and help kids in need of assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For The Mind Trust to call me and say hey we need your help, that gave me the perfect opportunity to say I can make a difference now because I’ve got a little bit of influence and a great building that they need in order to help kids and help families during this time of COVID-19.”

Harding says they provide a safe and comfortable environment for students. At The Reset Center, he says they keep kids eight feet apart, when learning, instead of six. It’s one of the ways they can focus on helping the kids while parents don’t have to worry about their protection from the virus.

Lillian Hughley, a grandmother of a student in the program at The Reset Center, says the impact she watched it have for her granddaughter “was a blessing.”

“Within one week she went from a ‘C’ to an ‘A’.” She believes that improvement has a lot to do with the learning environment.

“Kids don’t just come here to learn,” she said. “They truly love the kids.”

As a parent that’s seen what it can do, Hughley vouched for how helpful and effective these Community Learning Sites can be. “The kids get the extra help they need without putting stress on the parents.”

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