Kits offer learning activities for youths without internet access

  • Published: Monday, April 27, 2020

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. – What do you do when school moves online but your kids don’t have internet access?

In Butler, Carter and Wayne counties in southeastern Missouri, University of Missouri Extension has an answer thanks to generous community support.

“Even though our youth are out of school and are expected to do online learning, many of them do not have access to the internet,” said Stephanie Milner, county engagement specialist in 4-H youth development in Butler County. “We knew something had to be done, and who better to help coordinate than MU Extension serving our three-county area? It truly takes a whole village to help out.”

Milner, with youth program associates Kim Allison, Davida Pedigo and Diane Oesch, are creating educational activity kits and coordinating delivery to youths in the area who lack online access.

The “learn by doing” kits include a lively mix of STEM activities, nutrition recipes, gardening information and instructions, and arts and crafts. The team has enlisted 4-H volunteers to build on existing partnerships with the local parks department, media and bus drivers to help spread the word about the kits and distribute them too. Local banks are generously helping with costs.

“Some of the kids got them at the park office and enjoyed them, so I was hoping you had some more or even other activities the children could learn from,” said Connie Roberson, principal of Sacred Heart Catholic School in Poplar Bluff. “Our kids love to learn by doing.”

So far, 4-H has distributed about 175 kits and plans to provide more through the spring.

Carter County has coordinated with the Van Buren school lunch program to send home 300 activity packets, along with tomato and pepper plants to jump-start the hands-on horticulture projects.

“We are grateful for our local partners and to be able to provide youth an opportunity to learn by doing during this challenging time,” Milner said.

Photo available for this release:
Free educational activity kits outside the parks department office in Poplar Bluff.

Writer: Katherine Foran

Media Contact

Stephanie Milner

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