With distance learning the norm as the new school year gets underway, the Los Angeles Dream Center in Echo Park is pitching in to fill some gaps for kids in underserved communities.
School lunch, an important source of nutrition for at least 85% of children in California, is one. During a normal summer when school is out, 17 of 20 low-income students fall into the nutrition gap, according to the L.A. County Dept. of Public Health. Closures due to the pandemic had the same impact, so the Dream Center began serving meals in March, distributing upwards of 11,000 per day. The drive-through program has resumed and will operate from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri. throughout the fall semester and possibly into the new year.
The faith-based nonprofit has also launched its first “Restart Learning Center,” mobile learning hubs strategically placed throughout L.A. to provide a place of safety, accountability and motivation with tutors on board. The Dream Center is offering this new form of assistance, knowing that education will be particularly challenging for many families without resources and good structure to help their children as they attend school remotely.