New Hamilton remote learning center offers option for parents, students during coronavirus

The Rev. Shaquila Mathews, founder of Hamilton Young People Empowered (H.Y.P.E.), has taken “a vision and turned it into action,” according to Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller.

Mathews, known as Pastor Shaq, has two children in the Hamilton City Schools district, so she understands the struggles parents will face this school year when they balance their careers with teaching their children at home.

“It just hit me,” she said of her idea.

So she started an organization she hopes can provide an alternative to having kids do their schoolwork at home. The group is offering a study hall where students work virtually on their assignments with assistance from volunteer teachers and professors.

“It will be a structured setting,” she said.

The study hall will be held in the former Journal-News building in downtown Hamilton. The program begins Aug. 24, the first day of classes, and is offered to sixth- through ninth-graders enrolled in remote or virtual learning. Those in attendance will receive breakfast, lunch and a snack, she said.

The program costs $20 a day or $65 a week, and there will be price breaks for families with more than one child enrolled, she said. She’s also hoping to secure sponsors to provide scholarships to offset the cost.

She said all 30 students will have their workspace with pens, pencils, markers and free internet throughout the building.

Deep cleanings will happen at the end of each workday, and H.Y.P.E will hire a professional cleaning service every other week to make sure the area is properly sanitized, she said.

Mathews said to maintain proper social distancing, 30 students will be accepted and about half of the spots are taken.

“This is the type of project that makes a entire community smile,” Moeller said. “It’s all positive.”

For more information, to register or to donate to the scholarship fund, email or call 513-899-6181.

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