PUEBLO — The lives of essential workers go beyond the front-lines of the pandemic.
That’s why Pueblo’s School District 70 spearheaded a program for children whose parents are essential to fighting the pandemic. The "Fair Care" program partnered with the Boys and Girls club of Pueblo to organize seven different locations - two in D70, two in D60, and three with the Boys and Girls club - for students to get help from substitute teachers with their remote learning.
“That first morning, parents pulling up, some in tears, just saying that they had no idea what they were going to do with their children,” said Gregory Howell, contributor to the Fair Care program when describing the opening day of the project. “To have a program come right before them and it being familiar, and safe, and secure - that made it all worthwhile.”
Baxter Learning Center is just one of the project's locations. There, Stephanie Dauenhauer helps four students stay on track with their at-home learning each day. Each classroom is capped at five students and the program tries to only keep siblings together for safety.
“We’re trying to keep these kids educated and these parents are trying to keep their jobs, so this is a great way to help find a balance for these parents and these students,” said Dauenhauer.
The pilot has been funded through Coronavirus relief funds from both the city and county with a total of $50,000. According to Howell, most of the funding goes "back to the workforce" like the teachers and maintenance staff, which he said is a "beautiful thing" during the pandemic.
The pilot launched on November 30 and ends this Thursday, but Fair Care hopes to make the program permanent in January. Howell says as the program continues, they would like to implement more arts studies into the student's days.
If you are interested in working for Fair Care, donating to the program, or getting your child enrolled when the projects restarts, all of the information can be found on their new and developing website.