PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- Normally, Avary Yowell, 12, would be doing her school work at Plato Academy Seminole.
- Girls Incorporated of Pinellas offering services for free temporarily
- Latest coronavirus news and resources
But with schools closed, Yowell now spends her days doing Distance Learning.
"It's kind of hard to adjust to it because it's like a whole new different world that you have to learn and get used to," Yowell said. "It's hard for me because I'm a middle schooler and usually I have different classes and some of the classes can be hard without help."
Yowell said both of her parents work at healthcare facilities so they can't stay home with her and staying home alone wasn't an option.
The family found an answer at Girls Incorporated of Pinellas.
"I'm very grateful they stayed open for kids," Yowell said.
Aware there are many families facing a similar situation, Girls, Inc. decided to expand its program and offer its services for free temporarily.
Girls between 5 and 18 years old who are enrolled in the program are able to go to the center and spend the entire day there.
Staff members have also been trained to help them with their school work.
"We're now communicating with the school teachers, with the school staff, getting the girls online, getting their homework and classwork uploaded. So it's been a lot to ask of our staff but they've stepped up and been amazing through this process,"said Darla Otey, Executive Director, Girls Inc. Pinellas.
Girls Inc. has been following the CDC guidelines for safety and social distancing. Only 9 girls are allowed in a room at a time and staff members are wearing masks.
"For us, it's important to keep them calm, to keep them safe, and to help them understand we are all going to get through this together," said Otey.
Right now there is a wait list for the program but the organization is applying for grants and asking for donations.
Otey said that would allow them to add staff to serve more girls.