Boys and Girls Club offers safe space for students participating in virtual learning


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas has opened a space to allow USD 259 middle and high school students to complete their online learning in a safe place with assistance from mentors.

When you walk in, it looks like a normal classroom.

“Everything is different,” said Rene Bryan, senior at Wichita Heights High School. “It’s online, so it’s a little pressuring at times.”

The USD 259 middle and high school students are learning virtually for at least the first nine weeks. The Boys and Girls Club has allowed them to participate in the Teen Learning Academy and do so safely with the guidance of adults other than their teachers online.

Officials said they are continuing to follow district and local health guidelines and provide meals for the students.

“They need that active environment where there’s another person to help guide them with technology or just assist their classroom,” said Junnae Campbell, CEO of Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas.

The Teen Learning Academy was created to help those students whose parents have to work or cannot be home on weekdays to help their children with online learning.

“My mom was really concerned because she didn’t want us to stay home all day by ourselves,” said Bryan. “That’s not good for us or our mental health. So, it’s good that we get to come here.”

The Boys and Girls Club has been given a space inside the Urban Prep Academy for this program and it has been funded by Koch Industries and Fidelity Bank. Other fundraisers have been started to pay for the remainder of on-going expenses.

“I think I’m a little productive here than I actually am in the class,” said Bryan. “I get distracted easily, but it’s quiet here. So, I can focus and that’s really good.”

So far, the program has 31 students participating, but Campbell said they hope to have 117 students once more teachers are hired.

“We are limited to the number of staff we have, therefore we’re limited to the number of spaces for students we can serve in this program right now,” said Campbell.

The program serves as a relief for parents and students and creates an avenue for making sure students are able to get the education they need in a safe way, while also getting the chance to interact with other kids.

“Our team has heard a lot of different stories from our family about how this just a life saver for them,” said Campbell. “I believe whole-heartedly that there are still kids that need us.”

Campbell says the Boys and Girls Club is accepting applications if you want to help with the Teen Learning Academy.

There is currently a wait list to get in to the academy. Campbell says once Boys and Girls Club members are able to get in, they will open admissions to the entire community.

For more information about the program, click here. You can contact the Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas at (316) 201-1890.

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