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Baltimore Group Encourages Arts & Crafts To Fill Digital Gap Some City Students Facing

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- For students in Baltimore city, online learning can be a tough transition or for some, it isn't viable.

In response, one local organization is meeting kids where they are at lunch distribution sites around the city and providing creative arts lessons to take home.

Here's how "Young Audiences" is stepping up to fill the gaps of the digital divide.

Nine-year-old Zamirah Hall, a third-grader, loves arts and crafts.

"This is fun and I like this," Zamirah said.

She is just one of many students right now wishing they were back in their classrooms.

"I miss my friends and I want to be at school for some reason," she said. "I don't know why I want to be at school?"

But thanks to the organization, Young Audiences, kids can still explore their creativity at home.

One activity is called snacks. No, it's not the kind you eat.

"We call them snacks, cause they are designed to go right alongside meal distribution. It's a part of a well-balanced diet. You need to be making things along with looking at stuff on screens," said Matt Barinholtz, a Young Audiences teaching artist and founder of Futuremakers.


With Baltimore school doors closed, organizers said they want to make sure children and families still have access to art-making materials.

"Creativity and communication and collaboration are things that we need in our times," Kurtis Donnelly, Director of Summer Learning at Young Audiences, "and students learn those things through the arts."

Young Audiences is also airing an arts-integrated TV show called "Arts Learning and Kids."

Snacks is catered to all ages, whether you have access to online learning or not.

"If you don't have internet access, everything you need to know is right there,"

Organizers said the response from the community so far has been great.

"I think those computers, they stay on them too much, and I think using their hands would be a great idea to keep their minds motivated," grandmother Donnette Graham said.

Over the next few weeks, Young Audiences plans to distribute all 9,000 "snack" kits at every meal site continuing to feed hungry young minds throughout Baltimore.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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