This past school year and summer have been unlike any other. Abrupt school closures, a rocky transition to digital learning and the shuttering of summer camps and daycare meant most DC children had their routines and educational progress disrupted.
Thousands of children were unable to connect to digital learning because they lacked a computer or didn’t have internet service.
The lack of access to devices also meant that many children with special education needs fell further behind. We knew it was critical to keep children learning during this long summer.
Thanks to the generosity of our Children Can’t Wait Fund campaign co-chairs Diana and Stephen Goldberg, we distributed summer activity kits and devices to more than 350 DC children.
The activity kits, compiled in partnership with DC-based Child’s Play Toys & Books, were individually curated to match the ages and interests of each child. Kits containing everything from books, arts and crafts, and science experiments to jump ropes and robotic toys ensured that children could continue to learn – and have fun! – even in the absence of summer camps and daycares.
Additionally, this extraordinary donation allowed us to give more than 40 iPads, Apple pencils and keyboard cases to children with special needs and young children – kids who most benefit from using a touchscreen device.
The kits have been a source of joy for children like Elmer.
When schools went virtual, 12-year-old Elmer had difficulty studying English via the computer and missed the dedicated aide who helped him in his classes. The tablet he used in the spring experienced frequent technical issues. His mother, Mrs. Jurado, worried that he wasn’t able to follow his teacher’s lessons. All of this made Elmer nervous to start seventh grade.
“Since being sick with COVID-19 myself, I’ve been anxious for our family to risk leaving our home,” shared Mrs. Jurado. “The activity kits have been wonderful because they keep my boys mentally stimulated and busy in our apartment. Despite his learning difficulties, Elmer exerted himself and built a robot from the kit in five hours. He was so proud of himself, and it’s something that keeps him and his younger brother entertained to this day.”
The activities have also made Elmer more excited and confident about returning to school.
The direct impact of this gift on the children we work with cannot be overstated. On behalf of our happy and hopeful families, thank you to the Goldbergs and all our kind supporters.
Tracy L. Goodman
Director, Healthy Together