This is the best place I’ve ever been! This was enthusiastically said by a kindergartner at our Learning Center at Pisgah View. This kindergartner is just 1 of 60 children ages K-5th grade that attend our Learning Centers and 1 of approximately 2,000 children and families that we work with each year. Our Learning Centers are located in the public housing/low-income communities of Deaverview, Pisgah View and Woodridge Apartments. This safe-haven afterschool program provides a healthy snack, homework help and enrichment activities like soccer, dance, and yoga to over 60 children living in vulnerable conditions. It is free of charge to families living in these communities and provides holistic assistance to the families through emergency assistance and parenting classes and workshops. Parents are very involved in the program, volunteering at the centers, attending workshops, and having conferences with the site leaders.
“I don’t want to play video games, I want to play in the grass.” Many of our children face dangerous living conditions, which impede their opportunities to play and explore the outdoors safely. One way we address this obstacle is by providing a 6 week Summer Camp program, which provides the 36 children it serves with opportunities to learn and discover the richness of the surrounding mountains. They go whitewater rafting, learn to swim, hike, bike and explore streams, rivers and lakes and more. To alleviate the Summer Learning Loss, the children write in their journals regularly and keep up on their reading skills. At the end of summer, these children can go back to school and share with their classmates what they did over the summer. And yes, they get to play in the grass.
This after-school Learning Center program relies heavily on the dedication and commitment of volunteers. If you have just one hour a week, and you want to be the change you want to see in the world, then you can be a tutor/mentor for one of the children. Contact Jodi Ford at JodiF@childrenfirstbc.org or call 828-768-2072. Or download this Volunteer Application and Volunteer Information Packet and return it to JodiF@childrenfirstbc.org.
The Learning Center staff includes Project POWER/AmeriCorps members. In the mornings the Project POWER/Americorps members work in the elementary schools where the children attend, then the afternoons are spent at the Learning Centers. There are also Parent Coordinators who work with the families in the mornings and at the Learning Centers in the afternoons.
- It is located within the community to alleviate transportation barrier
- The program is free
- The program incorporates a Summer Camp program
- The program provides holistic help to families through parent involvement and emergency assistance.
The Learning Centers are always in need of educational supplies and various materials, as well as volunteers to come and help decorate for parties and do weekly deep-cleanings of the centers. To find out more, contact JodiF@childrenfirstbc.org or BarbaraN@childrenfirstbc.org. or read the Learning Centers WISH LIST
Learning Centers Mailing Address
50 S. French Broad Ave. Ste. #246
Asheville, NC 28801
fax: (828) 281-3308
Barbara Norton–Learning Center Coordinator
Interested in volunteering with the Learning Centers?