Roanoke childcare center looking to expand, take in more students as they go back to school virtually

Coronavirus

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Cultural Arts for Excellence (C.A.F.E.) is looking to be able to care for more students to meet the increased need as students prepare to go back to school virtually and with hybrid schedules.

C.A.F.E. offers a unique after school program for middle school students, but staff wants to extend it to an all-day program and take in more students. However, in order to accomplish that, the program will need more staff and more space.

“We use the arts to enrich and to enhance academics,” said C.A.F.E. Execute Director Donna Robinson.

Robinson says they offer certain instruments and teach classes in building character and self-esteem, but since school will look different with virtual learning, so will the program.

“What we will be offering is academic support. We’ll have tutoring, mentoring, just support for the kids even if they just need help logging on to their laptops, or to sign in or what have you,” Robinson said.

“We’ll have the support here for the kids. But we’ll also offer enrichment for the kids so that their day is not just sitting down in front of a computer.”

Right now, they’ve got their main room cleared out, as they are preparing to have the facility deep cleaned before students come back. However, when they come back, there will be more students needing care, which is why staff are looking to expand to different sites.

“We want to be able to support as many kids as possible because there are so many kids that’s going to need to help. Here in the Roanoke Valley alone, but right here in northwest Roanoke, this is a very vulnerable area for kids,” Robinson said.

One of the new sites they are looking to work with is Kingdom Life Ministries International, which is just around the corner from them.

“I mean we’re dealing with situations we’ve never dealt with before in our lives. I think the need is tremendous. We have to be very very conscious of the needs of the children in the community,” said Rev. Kathy O’Keeffe.

The church has plenty of classroom space for the children to work and stay safe and socially distant.

“It’s a small sacrifice for us to open up our church building and be able to do whatever we can to help the young people,” said O’Keeffe.

“Number one, continue to be educated. Number two has a safe space. And number three be in an environment where people care about their learning and their safety.”

In working with the church C.A.F.E. will have space, but they still need the staff. If you’re interested in applying, click here.

Robinson says they are working with United Way to make the program low cost or no cost to parents who need their services. Parents can sign up through the Smart2Start portal.

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