SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Club provides an environment where “a kid can be a kid.”
However, with Covid-19 cases increasing in Shreveport, social distancing protocols have forced the nonprofit to cut their enrollment to less than half; leaving majority of the children to deal with homelife stress.
Lieutenant Jamaal Ellis oversees the operations at the club. He says that he and his staff are witnessing the shift in the wellbeing of the children they serve.
“These kids are used to being social. They’re used to having school, where they can go fellowship, talk to their friends. This prolong time of isolation or being at home it just wasn’t good,” said Ellis.
Ellis and his staff are aware that social interaction, proper nutrition, and rewards are essential to the mental well-being of a child.
“Not having adequate food does take a toll on how a kid feels…So we want to make sure we are able to meet those needs,” said Ellis.
To accommodate children that are not able to attend the club this summer, the staff offers food delivery services and academic packets. These tools offer the mental stimulation needed to combat the negative effects of Covid-19.
Senator Casey is the ranking member of The Senate Sub-Committee of Children and Families in Washington D.C. He said children of color are witnessing the dire effects of Covid-19 first-hand.
“Especially children in communities of color where there have been a high number of deaths from Covid-19, and a substantial number of people suffering from all kinds of challenges,” said Senator Bob Casey.
Programs, like the Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Club, are providing all the essential needs to help fight the mental strains of isolation.
“At The Boys and Girls Club you can be a kid. We will feed you, we will look after you, and you will have a good time. That’s therapeutic in of itself,” said Ellis.
To take advantage of other services the Salvation Army and Boys and Girls Club has to offer contact Vanessa Brown at (318) 636 3313.