Muskegon Boys and Girls Club Launches Virtual Interactive Activities For All Children During Coronavirus

MUSKEGON, MI – On Monday, they visited the Smithsonian National Museum. On Tuesday, the Muskegon children learned how to draw a dinosaur, while keeping a safe distance from each other.

Children in the Muskegon area now have a new way to stay engaged despite being stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak, thanks to an interactive online program hosted by the Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon.

The club launched a new online program this week called VOICE – Virtual Online Interactive Club Experience – which allows children to participate in daily virtual activities designed to keep them both engaged and entertained.

Although the club, as well as schools across the country, have had to put their in-person activities on hold during the pandemic, the Boys and Girls Club is finding new and innovative ways to stay engaged with children in the Muskegon area.

“It’s one thing to post a YouTube video, but what we know our kids love is having a way to interact with each other,” said Dakota Crow, professional club manager. “With the schools closing and the club closing, we are trying to find a way to connect socially and enrich ourselves educationally. “

The VOICE program is free for all children in the Muskegon area and offers five different sessions for age groups ranging from 6 to 22 who meet online every weekday at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. Each day of the week has a different theme for its activities: Monday is STEM, Tuesday is art, Wednesday is character, Thursday is fitness, and Friday is fun.

Parents can enroll their children in the VOICE program and find more information for each age group at bgclubmuskegon.com/voice.

The club will use the Zoom software for group video chats and the MyFuture and BookNook apps for activities. Crow said that although about 75-80% of the kids at the club have internet access, the next step in the program is to partner with local internet providers to help those without internet access. at home.

As the program kicks off once-a-day meetings this week, the club hopes to hold twice-daily meetings for each age group next week and continue to add another daily meeting each following week. Sessions are recorded so that those who miss them can catch up later.

The program has the capacity to accommodate 100 children of each age group each day, Crow said. If this number is exceeded, the club will further divide the age groups into separate sessions.

The club ultimately expects a total online participation rate of around 150 young people per day, which is half the number of children who regularly attend in-person sessions each day, Crow said. The club has on-site locations at Nelson Elementary School in Muskegon, Muskegon Heights Public School Academy, Muskegon Covenant Academy, Oarkridge Elementary and Upper Secondary Schools, and Elementary and Secondary Schools Cardinal Orchard View.

While the virtual club experience is intended as a placeholder for in-person activities during the stay-at-home order, Crow said he believes this online program will continue to be a feature of the Boys and Girls Club. .

“Seeing people in person is great, but now we have the opportunity to complement it,” he said. “Now during the school year we have the opportunity to meet the children during snowy days, weekends and during spring break. This is something that will live beyond our current situation with the social distancing.

“The coronavirus has propelled us into a world we already should have been in, in my opinion. “

MLive has comprehensive coverage on the COVID-19 coronavirus, including maps of known cases, at mlive.com/coronavirus.

PREVENTION TIPS

Michigan’s State Emergency Operations Center is coordinating state government resources and the response to the spread of the coronavirus. He shared the following tips:

What you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:

· Always cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.

· Stay home if you are sick and advise others to do the same.

· Avoid close contact with sick people.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

· Wash your hands often with lukewarm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.

· Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, if soap and hot water are not available.

· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (computers, keyboards, desks, etc.).

· It is not too late to get the flu shot! Although the flu shot does not protect against infection with COVID-19, it can help keep you healthy during flu season.

For state-wide and national information on the virus, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus or CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Learn more about MLive:

8 Tips for Keeping Parents and Children Sane and Safe During the Michigan Coronavirus Outbreak

Governor Whitmer to announce Thursday whether she will reopen Michigan schools closed for coronavirus

Muskegon area superintendent advises parents to tell children schools are closed for the rest of the year


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Perry A. Thomasson