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A Chicago North Side Shelter Helps Homeless Students With Remote Learning

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Remote learning begins next week for Chicago Public Schools students.

But 12,000 of those students are homeless right now.  As CBS 2's Vi Nguyen reports, one shelter on the far North Side is hoping to give them all the tools and resources they need to succeed.

It's Sylvia Center, a homeless shelter in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood.

"People keep talking. They can say what they like," said Essence Rhodes. "I don't worry because everything is going to be alright."

The 10-year-old Rhodes has been staying at the shelter with her mom and brother for the past year.

"COVID-19 just changed the whole world," said Rhodes, who starts the fifth grade next week.

"I'm excited, but also not, because it's coming so soon," she said.

Remote learning for her will take place at a room in the shelter.

"It's going to be harder because we're not in school," Rhodes said. "We're going to be on the computer. That's harder than being face-to-face."

The center converted several rooms into classrooms for Essence and 19 other homeless CPS students. Everything was donated this week by people in the community. From the desks to chairs to the pens and paper.

Everything needed to help ease the transition for these students already going through so much. Amanda Learmond is the center's program supervisor.

"Each kid is going to get headphones so they can do school," Learmond said, who added that word quickly spread on Facebook about the center's need and the donations came pouring in. Her staff was just amazed by the amount of people wanting to help.

"It's been an absolute blessing because that was our biggest concern was how we're going to pull this whole thing off," said case manager Nicole Branch. "We just told this to one person and it skyrocketed to something we couldn't even imagine."

The staff at the center is overwhelmed by the love and support from so many people in the community. But they are still in need of more desks, more supplies, and even volunteers to help students with remote learning.

Click here to see a list of what's needed and how you can help. Click here for more information on Sylvia Center.

The center is following CDC guidelines to ensure social distancing and the rooms will be cleaned on a daily basis.


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