Peter Paul Center Concluding Summer Programs
The Summer Institute at the Peter Paul Development Center on Church Hill is coming to an end and the After School Learning Immersion Program is gearing up.
These programs for young people are among five offered to enrich the lives of people in Richmond’s East End, which has the highest concentration of poverty in the city. The Summer Institute, new this year, concludes next week.
Washington: The morning half of our program is purely academic and the afternoon was enrichment.
The Reverend Lynne Washington, an Episcopal priest, is Director of the Peter Paul Center.
Washington: We've had a reading camp in cooperation with the University of Virginia that was held at Saint Christopher's School for young people in the second, third grade. We have had a math camp, a science camp, we have had a writing camp and what we've learned about many of our kids through our testing process is that one of the areas that they're weak in is writing. We've also learned about the kids, one of the areas that they're really strong in and have had major increases is in the area of math, so we've been able to continue that academic school process to keep kids on skill level and to go beyond skill level.
Kids enrolled over the summer have exceeded expectations, she said, and they've had a good time doing it.
Washington: Our kids have won the praise dance contest at the Bill Robinson Theater this past Friday and we are, we won first place, I should say, and we are extremely excited about that. Our garden is growing, even in this dry heat, and that's with Tricycle Gardens. We actually have a squash team.
The dedicated staff and volunteers, Washington explained, work hard to make learning fun.
Washington: We have had our global education program; we're in Chinese language right now, and we have finished our Spanish and French, have had our robotics team, and coming up for the fall we will have a girls' robotics team. We've also finished, one of our kids, the nursing camp that was put together by Bon Secours hospital, as well as Camp Thunderbird, and a lot of our sporting activities are done in conjunction with the YMCA. They are a true community partner here in the East End of Richmond.
East End families have been hit hard, she said, by the recession, and the education and sports programs are a Godsend because they’re provided by generous donors. Nearly ninety 8 to 16 year-olds took part. The Center’s well-established fall programs begin when school opens.
Washington: We are not quite an after-school program in the sense of mentoring and tutoring; we are out of school time and quasi-academic classroom teaching as you would do during the school day and one-on-one relationship in the afternoon. Our big push this year is to have a mentor for every child that comes in to the Peter Paul Center.
The after-school program can, at present, handle around 100 students.
Washington: And we're still having parents come in wanting to enroll their kids and the biggest constraint we have, literally, is space. If we could build another building or get more space, I can guarantee you we would triple our enrollment.
The Center also partners with the Central Virginia Food Bank to provide emergency food assistance in neighborhoods where people have an average yearly income of less than $10,000.
Washington: Right now we have an average of 250 individuals that we work with, which will affect about a thousand families a month.
Learn more online at peterpauldevelopmentcenter.org.
John Ogle, WCVE News