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Albert Lea church creates distance learning space for families; Homework Habitat starts Monday

Devin Martin
Updated: August 23, 2020 10:45 PM
Created: August 23, 2020 09:48 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- With it being almost the end of August, many students are either going back to school in person or completing distance learning. 

But there are challenges for families who don't have an internet connection at home. One church in Albert Lea is looking to change that, "We're going to love our neighbors, we're going to be flexible and do what we need to do and we're going to change with the times to be a church that serves the needs," Pastor John Mitchem at Albert Lea United Methodist Church said. 

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Serving the community is a mantra the Albert Lea United Methodist Church lives by.  Now, they're looking to help kids who need resources to adapt to their new school schedules, "We've chosen to set up as a congregation and we will have at least 50, we may have to expand that number, of kids who will be here on the days they're not in school," Pastor Mitchem said. "They have a place to do their homework by using the internet, they're having loving caring adults with them who will help them do the homework they need help with."

The church has two rooms ready to use for students but something the church could use more of is volunteers, "The more volunteers we can have helps the ratio of adults to kids and that's just a need that will take care of itself," Pastor Mitchem said. 

There's a lot going into Homework Habitat's opening on Monday but church members say they're ready. 

"I'm ecstatic. It feels like the night before Christmas for me. We're so excited about the new beginnings," Andrea Plueddeman, director of family ministry at Albert Lea United Methodist Church said.

And if you're a parent, Andrea wants you to know your kids will be in good hands, "It's so nice seeing all this come to fruition and just seeing it go from my dream on paper to, oh, my goodness, we're going to have a lot of kids here this week. We have supplies. We have every need met that the kids could possibly have," Plueddeman said. 

The church says the community has also responded well. Andrea's just glad their work is being recognized, "There are so many kids who need this and so many families that will benefit from this. It feels wonderful knowing that when we hear people say you're from the United Methodist Church, you're doing that program. We couldn't have asked for anything better," Plueddeman said. 

If you're a parent and have kids at Southwest Middle School and want to signup your kids for this program, call (507) 373-8233. 

Internet connection, take-home snacks, hygiene bags, and masks will also be provided to students who need it. 


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