100 Black Men creates virtual learning venue

100 Black Men of Valdosta | Submitted Photo Lewis Cureton, member of the 100 Black Men of Valdosta, helps Denzel Austin, a Valdosta City Schools student, at the 100's virtual learning site. The site is intended to assist virtual learning students who may not have access to stable internet or have other needs.

VALDOSTA – Schools reopening in recent weeks triggered parents to make a choice between traditional instruction and virtual learning. 

Lewis Cureton, a member of the 100 Black Men of Valdosta, is spearheading a program to help parents who opted for the latter.

The 100’s house has been transformed into a virtual learning site for students with no stable internet or who have other needs. Cureton, alongside group members, oversees the site that opened this month.

“Many parents are being forced to choose between exponentially increasing their children’s chances of contracting COVID-19 by sending them to traditional schools or leaving their children unattended for nine or 10 hours a day while they work,” he said.

“This program is the middle ground. COVID-19 will be an issue for the foreseeable (future). We want to alleviate as much of the stress as we can from the parents, students and the teachers by providing a safe and sanitized study space for our community to utilize.”

The 100 partners with local school systems to enroll students into the program. The partnership provides bus transportation to and from the 100 site, as well as breakfast and lunch.

Group members give computers and school supplies.

Cureton said he is leading the virtual learning site because “someone had to.”

“Parents, students and teachers alike need assistance figuring out how to adjust to these changes,” he said. “I saw this as my opportunity to lend a hand and use what I’ve learned over the years to help my community get through these trying times.”

In keeping with one of its missions, the 100 plans to use the program as a mentoring opportunity, said Nathaniel Haugabrook, group president.

An example Haugabrook offered is teaching students how to interact with others.

The 100 will have access to student grades, behavior reports and attendance reports, he said.

“This will be another mentoring piece that we are hoping to help shape and mold the lives of young people,” he said.

Cureton said parents and students have pleasantly responded to the concept of the venue and have been receptive to the assistance during their transition to virtual learning.

COVID-19 precautions include wearing masks, washing hands frequently and cleaning stations daily.

The site is open 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Call Haugabrook at (229) 247-4617, or email Cureton at lewiscureton@gmail.com, for more information.

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