ST. LOUIS ( -- While school districts grapple with how and when to return to the classroom, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis are expanding their hours to fill some gaps for parents.

Clubs like Gene Slay's Girls & Boys Club in Soulard have changed their hours and changed their programs to try to help parents during the pandemic.

Lavender Dean, 10, is involved with physical education while a few feet away her 6-year-old sister does her school work online.

The siblings come each day to the club. This is what school looks like for them while their mom is back at her job. 

“I had to take months off work with very, very low pay just to stay home with them for the time. There were no services available so as soon as the facility was available it really helped me keep my job and not have to worry about what's going on with my children,” said mom, Lakesha Dean.

“Now what we've transitioned into, we've become a virtual learning hub in conjunction and partnership with St. Louis Public Schools,” said Deborah Taylor with the club. 

Before the pandemic, on any given day up to 125 children would be at the club for various programs and clubs. But now due to restrictions, they cannot have no more than 54 children and there is still a need.

The club has a waiting list of about 20 children, so other clubs have extended their hours and changed their programs to help as well.

For Dean, she doesn't know what she would do if this program was not available. “I thought I was going to have to quit my job and try to find one way to work from home or start my own business or just do something,” she said.

News 4 asked what the club is in need of right now. Basic school supplies are always needed and headphones are at the top of her list. With the children on their various computers with their lessons, headphones are needed.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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