‘It’s helpful, it’s inspiring for them’: Non-profit Transitions helps bridge the gap for students in need

SPOKANE, Wash. — Virtual learning can be tough. It’s even more difficult for students who don’t have access to internet or live in a good home. However, organization Transitions is trying to help bridge the gap for its students in need.

Transitions switched one of its rooms into a classroom space to help the students that live in their care, along with some of the staff’s children.

Valerie Grogan is a current client of Transitions, trying to get back on her feet after going through rehab for drug addiction.

“There’s only so much I could do as a parent,” she said. “I can’t give them what an adolescent needs from school, from afterschool, from friends, and not being from this area, they don’t have any friends.”

Grogan wants to help her kids, but it’s tough because of the pandemic. Now that they’re in school, it’s been a little more difficult.

However, thanks to Transitions new classroom, her kids get to have something to be excited about: learning and being around others.

“They can’t go to school and do all the normal things they’re used to. Having this available to them, it gives them something to look forward to,” she said.

The families getting help from Transitions are considered homeless under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. If it weren’t for the EduCare program Transitions offers, along with tutors helping the kids, the students in its program could have fallen behind.

“It’s so important. The children we’re serving here at Transitions are the ones that are susceptible to education deficits, even without virtual learning environment,” said Shelby Berkompas, the EduCare program director with Transitions.

In the classroom, the kids could connect to the internet, get help from tutors and their peers with virtual learning.

If they didn’t have the classroom with Transitions, they might have not been able to connect to the internet at all.

“What I’ve noticed with this is, yes, they’re in their own classes and yes, they’re separated by their dividers, but to have this little community and to have other kids in their class who are going through the same thing, though different grades, it’s huge. It’s helpful, it’s inspiring for them,” said Katie Casto, a tutor for the program.

It’s a lifesaver for a parent like Grogan, who is still trying to get back on her feet and provide for her family of four as a single mother.

“I’m just grateful for this opportunity. Without this, I don’t know where I would be, honestly. I have no idea where we would be and right now, I’m happy with life,” Grogan said.

The students at Transitions go to Spokane Public Schools, which is slowly bringing students back into the classroom. Berkompas said their original plan was to keep the classroom through the rest of the semester, but there is a chance it can extend beyond that.

To learn more about Transitions and the EduCare program, visit their website here.

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