Back to School: Supplies, shopping, preparing, reading get ready
Back to School: Supplies, shopping, preparing, reading get ready.
CAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md. -
Three years ago, Prince George's County Schools put out the call to non-profits. They offered rent-free space in vacant school buildings for community programs.
The Forestville Boys and Girls Club took them up on that. But now, three years later with virtually no notice, the club has been kicked out at Berkshire Elementary School, at least for now.
"Just as a little joke, I said, ‘Are you here to evict us?" Club President Mary Jones tells us. "One of the guys said, ‘Yeah, sort of.' It turned out to be true."
The Valuable Blessings non-profit that works to keep kids off the street and engage in meaningful activities, was equally caught off guard.
30 volunteers spent 11 hours at the school Saturday, painting and landscaping, so they could start holding mentoring programs and youth activities there.
"It's hard to find volunteers to come out and help," Valuable Blessings Founder Valencia Davis says. "And now, to have something like this happen, it's a slap in the face."
Berkshire Elementary is being cleaned and brought up to code to accommodate students and staff from Doswell Brooks Elementary School in Capitol Heights. Brooks Elementary is being renovated, but it won't be finished by the time school starts.
Jones rallied some volunteers to help move football gear and other equipment to the Wheatley Special Center in Capitol Heights where they had a small shed available.
It is too late to apply for permits to hold their programs elsewhere.
"We're going to have to work with the school to try and get space for our football and cheerleading teams to practice. And we had a mentoring program in the evening," says Jones.
"At this point, we're just stuck," says Davis.
Their open house was set for September 22 and will have to be scrapped.
In a statement, Prince George's County Schools spokesperson Briant Coleman says, "They were not kicked out. We have to make sure the school is clean for students and teachers. Once we make that determination, we will assess the space, and allocate some to them if it's available."
The founder of Valuable Blessings says she could use one of her own.
"Sometimes you just want give up and say never mind," Davis says. "But we have to carry on for the kids. We'll hang in there."
School officials will meet with the non-profits next week to try and work out alternative arrangements.