The COVID-19 pandemic has caused children to be put out of their classrooms and forced to learn at home on their computers, which has placed a tremendous amount of responsibility on people too young to be held responsible.
Frederick’s Police Activities League (PAL) Program, led by Program Director of Mentoring Brandon Chapman, partnered with the Housing Authority of Frederick to keep kids focused on their schoolwork by giving them donated items from Walmart as incentives to stay connected with their classwork.
Switching to virtual learning has proven to be an adjustment for parents, students, and staff, but by doing the switch together and adding rewards, the PAL Program and Housing Authority of Frederick are leading the way for Frederick’s education. They have always counseled and mentored the youth in this city, but they are working harder than ever during this pandemic in an attempt to help these children receive a good education.
“For these kids, it’s kind of like college classes, there’s so much responsibility put on their laps and you have to teach them, yeah you can game all day and you can do your homework for an hour but you need to take control and do what you need to do throughout the week,” said Chapman.
Not only has Chapman been working with the youth in Frederick, but he also travels to Memel, South Africa, and works with the poverty laden youth there. “The thought of my children going hungry and not being able to have proper education that could launch them into success gave me a crucial gut check. All I could think about is that there has to be a way to help.”
Chapman puts as much passion into making a difference in the lives of the children in Memel, as he does with the children in Frederick. He hopes to provide the type of change that will benefit their future and their eternity.
Chapman works hard to serve his community. Not only has he worked with at-risk youth in various capacities for the past decade, but he also has begun to work with incarcerated parents in a jail setting.
Incarcerated parents, being out of their homes, make a tremendous difference in the growth and development of the children in the community. Although states, including Maryland, have in recent years led the way in reducing their prison populations, the United States continues to have the world’s largest incarcerated population. More than 5 million American children have a parent who has been incarcerated. Chapman and people like him continue their work to improve the community, even during a pandemic. COVID-19 has placed a stress and responsibility on children that they never could have imagined, but the work by men and women like Chapman and other members of PAL and the Housing Authority of Frederick helps to ease that burden.