MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There are over 100,000 students in Shelby County Schools and not all of them are able to stay home for virtual learning.
“Like how am I going to manage doing virtual and me working because I’m a single mom of two, and quitting my job is not an option,” Quinnella Prince said.
Prince found the answer in a church close to her job in downtown Memphis.
Mt. Olive CME Church converted their place of worship to a place for learning Monday through Friday.
“You know with COVID, they needed space. We had it. We needed a ministry and it fits,” Mt. Olive CME Senior Pastor Peris Lester said.
Lester and his team along with dozens of other churches and nonprofits teamed up with the YMCA to offer up their facilities to help host the thousands of children who may suddenly need supervision during school hours.
“It’s a big blessing to me because I’m still able to work full-time. I didn’t have to cut my hours, and I didn’t have to find someone to keep the kids while I work,” Prince said.
According to an email sent out to church partners from the YMCA, during the first week of school, more than 1,500 students received supervised care at the Y’s many virtual academies.
The YMCA is gearing up to add even more.
Six more locations will open next week, and Lester says his church has plenty of space to add more students if needed.
“We’re actually at 45, but we can go up to 100 so all of our floors are available,” Lester said.
The YMCA program is free for essential workers like Prince who works as a pharmacy technician.
However, YMCA spokesperson Brian McLaughlin says the term essential workers is pretty broadly defined.
It also includes grocery store workers, teachers and other frontline workers of this pandemic.
If you are not an essential worker, there is a fee to attend the Y’s virtual academies, but McLaughlin says there are still scholarships available.
For more information go to www.ymcamemphis.org.