Learning Hub at The Bridge
The Learning Hub at The Bridge is a program sponsored by Church Union’s new 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Kidcelerate. The Hub is located in the building that housed the former Bethany House Academy in the Northview Heights community. Designed for students in grades K-8, it is an alternative to going home to an empty house or getting into trouble after school. The children feel a part of something bigger at the hub, and receive direction and encouragement.
The Hub opened during the COVID-19 Pandemic in early February 2021 as a space where students could complete their online schooling. The site was well-received by both the parents and the students. In fact, some children recommended it to their friends! Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) partners – Arsenal & King were immediately supportive, showing staff how to navigate the system, help finding additional staff, talking to student’s families, and always ready to recommend neighborhood children for the program. By the end of March, most of the students appeared to be ‘caught up’ with their tasks and the lines of communication with the school were working well.
After Spring Break, the transition began to hybrid learning. PPS worked with the Hub to identify which students would be in attendance on a given day and to ensure that food service would continue. There were a few staff changes that led to the hiring of 2 new individuals that had a very positive impact on the Hub – bringing skills in relationship building and classroom management. The Hub’s reputation had encouraged parents to seek us out directly and ask for help for their children.
The school year program evolved into a Summer Hub. It was a huge success – with a mix of arts, crafts, and educational activities. By the end of the program, the children were showing up early and leaving late. They had really bonded with their teachers! A few tears were shed on the last day as the children said goodbye to their teachers.
Due to the success of the first Learning and Summer Hubs at The Bridge, United Methodist Church Union and Kidceletate decided to continue offering The Learning Hub as an afterschool program and The Summer Hub as a summer camp each year. The Hub is making a positive difference in this community and in the lives of the children who come through our doors!