Two Wichita organizations partner to create innovative solution in response to remote learning hurdles

Koch funding helps bring new program to life for students this fall

September 10, 2020

min read

Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas are now able to experience a new kind of learning this fall. The Teen Learning Academy (TLA) is an opportunity for students grades 6 – 12 to complete their remote class work during regular school hours with assistance from Boys & Girls Club staff. This unique program was born out of need expressed by families and local business leaders who were concerned for teens who would be left alone to learn virtually this fall.  

Parents expressed a need for a safe learning environment with caring leaders who can inspire teens to achieve both academically and socially. Working in partnership with Urban Preparatory Academy to rent unused space in their building, the Teen Learning Academy opened Tuesday, Sept. 8 to previously enrolled Boys & Girls Club members. 

  “For over 30 years, our core programming has included academic success.  Now more than ever, we need to provide our members with the necessary tools to be academically competitive.  We are thankful for the generous support of Koch Industries, Fidelity Bank and an anonymous Boys & Girls Clubs of America donor. This support allows us to continue to pivot in order to meet the needs of our members during these uncertain times.  We are honored to be able to provide such a valued service to our families,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central KS CEO, Junnae Campbell. 

  Founding funder Koch Industries, with additional support from Fidelity Bank, brought the TLA to life over the course of just a few weeks, providing a low-cost and innovative daytime solution for members and parents.  

  “With the uncertainty of a new school year affecting so many Wichita families, Koch Industries is proud to support the Boys & Girls Club and Urban Prep Academy. Together, they are ensuring students have a supportive environment where they can continue learning,” said Meredith Olson, vice president of public affairs for Koch Industries. “The Teen Learning Academy is a great example of how non-profits and local businesses can work together to empower families and their children.” 

   To date, Boys & Girls Club has raised the initial startup costs and is working to raise the remainder of the on-going expenses. 

  “Education is essential to living a life of opportunity,” said Aaron Bastian, President and CEO of Fidelity Bank. “Unfortunately, some young people face barriers to learning, which are exacerbated by the health pandemic. It’s our duty to do what we can to empower our next generation of leaders to reach their great potential. That’s progress that builds stronger communities and why we are honored to be a part of the Teen Learning Academy.” 

  The academy will be open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., eventually serving 117 students. Members will focus primarily on completing their USD259 remote classes during regular school hours with assistance from staff. Boys & Girls Club after-school programming will be available after the school day concludes, offering focused programs on social emotional education, physical education and leadership learning. 

  Areas of need include: Student teachers willing to assist in daily learning, cleaning supplies such as Clorox wipes, Lysol (see Amazon Wishlist for specific details which will be posted on  www.begreatwichita.org), and monetary donations so we can keep the membership fees attainable for those who need us most. If you are interested in supporting this initiative, please contact Anne Chandler at  achandler@begreatwichita.org.