CRENSHAW, Calif. — The Crenshaw Family YMCA kicked off its new education initiative to help low-income students. According to staff, the inequities in Black and Brown communities are only intensifying due to the pandemic.
What You Need To Know
- The Crenshaw Family YMCA just kicked off its new education initiative to help low income students
- Staff said the inequities in Black and Brown communities are only intensifying due to the pandemic
- Veda’s Achieve 360 education and tech initiative is a new learning pod for at least 50 kids who can come in every day of the week with free Wi-Fi and after school tutoring
- Staff will be there to help the students struggling with distance learning in an effort to relieve stress on their working parents struggling to make ends meet
Sylinda Paige, who is 9 years old, said she was excited to be at the Crenshaw YMCA for her first day of tutoring.
“I was just in the house bored," she said.
Paige’s parents work all day, so the third grader is usually home alone with her teenage brother. She logs into her Zoom classes every morning, but her teacher said her grades were slipping.
It is a story Veda Ramsay-Stamps has heard repeatedly. As the executive director of Crenshaw’s YMCA, she has watched, heartbroken, as the Black and Brown kids in her community fall grades behind.
“When I look at some of these little kid’s faces, I know they are some of the smartest kids in our entire city, [but they just] do not have the same support system," she explained.
She is emotional because she has finally kicked off her passion project to be the bridge between her students and the resources they need to succeed.
Veda’s Achieve 360 education and tech initiative is a new learning pod for at least 50 kids who can come in every day of the week with free Wi-Fi and after school tutoring. Staff will be on site to help the students struggling with distance learning in an effort to relieve stress on their working parents struggling to make ends meet.
“There’s so many single moms in this community, nurses who have expressed their, just exhaustion," Ramsay-Stamps explained. "They don’t even have the wherewithal to take care of themselves, let alone their children.”
Ramsay-Stamps said the pandemic has only intensified long-standing inequities between students of color and those in more affluent Los Angeles neighborhoods.
A recent study by University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education shows 60% of homes in South Los Angeles rely on mobile broadband and another 17% of homes in South Los Angeles do not have Internet access at all.
Ramsay-Stamps said many kids share one laptop with up to eight members of a single family. She reached out to NBA player Russel Westbrook’s 'Why Not?' Foundation and Compudopt, a nonprofit that refurbishes laptops for students in need.
Together, Computdopt CEO Megan Steckly said they passed out 100 computers to Crenshaw parents.
“There’s 40,000 households here in South L.A. that don’t have access to a computer at home and what’s so frustrating about this is that it’s such an incredibly solvable problem,” Steckly said.
It is the digital divide Ramsay-Stamps said she is doing everything she can to address.
“It is tearing me apart to see how we were already so far behind and that weight is definitely on my shoulder of doing right by these kids,” she explained.
Doing right by kids like Paige, who up until now only had break to look forward to during Zoom classes at home.
“Break is like 15 minutes and we don’t get enough time on break,” she said.
The YMCA is serving as a new break from the isolation, where students can safely see friends in person, while getting the attention they need to stay focused.
For more information, or to donate to their efforts, visit: https://www.ymcala.org/locations/crenshaw-family-ymca.