These resources for learning, interacting, coping and initiating conversation (among other topics) have been gleaned from local news media, found online and submitted by BBBSWNC staff and supporters. Scroll down for a county-by-county resource list.
Tips For Staying Connected!
Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters put together this Virtual Mentoring Guide and Toolkit, an extensive list of fun, engaging activities and resources for staying connected with your Little and their parent/guardian. Watch one of these concerts together, start a journal together, take a dance class, or calm down – there are lots of helpful links here (probably the biggest list we’ve seen yet!) for younger and older kids, male and female.
Health and Fitness!
Let’s dance! Want to get your Little or your little (-ish) one moving? Director/choreographer/dancer/actress Debbie Allen (of “Fame” fame) is giving free dance classes via Instagram.
Watch and Discuss!
In today’s video from Storyline Online, Oprah Winfrey reads “The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen,” a story by author Thelma Godin about Kameeka and the conflicts she runs into on the day she hopes to beat her hula-hoppin’ rival, Jamara. The video last 13 minutes.
Read and Discuss!
Books to listen to! Elementary, Tween, Teen (and even Littlest Listeners) will benefit from the wealth of stories read to them at Audible/discovery.
Write and Discuss!
Hey Bigs and guardians, let’s get our Littles to write a story! It’s easier than it sounds with Story Starters, where kids pick their age level and the kind of story they want to write (Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi … or take your chances!). We gave it a spin this morning under Fantasy, and through a crazy combination, we got “Write a futuristic story about a magnificent ogre whose magical shield blocks every weapon!” Cool, right?
Exploring the World!
What’s cuter than a prickly porcupine named Rico eating a dried apricot? Not much, other than the live broadcasts that The Cincinnati Zoo is doing on Facebook Live every day at 3 p.m. that features one of their adorable, fascinating animals? Not much, except perhaps archived videos (including Rico!) here of other animals at the zoo!
Animals, Museums, Aquariums and More!
20 Amazing Places You Can Visit Without Leaving Home by TravelZoo is a super-cool way to visit … some of the most amazing places you can visit without leaving home! Tour places like The Louvre, The National Museum of Natural History, watch the sea otters (and other animals) at Monterey Bay Aquarium, go on a live safari.
Tour the world’s great museums! This Travel + Leisure article links you to some of the most amazing art, history, and science museums in the world, such as the British Museum in London, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Guggenheim in New York City, and literally hundreds of more places where you can gain knowledge about art, history, and science.
Coping Help For Everyone!
Children often take their emotional cues from adults and are likely to be worried if they see adults in their lives as worried, according to this article in The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring. “Calm reassurance is needed – and mentors should reach out to their mentees (by phone, video, text, or whatever their program recommends) and be a steady source of comfort and conversation about their concerns,” the article states. The article has some suggestions for how you as mentor can steer these conversations.
How to help teens “shelter in place” and other ways of helping Littles, their parents (and yourself) cope with these weird times are available at Greater Good Magazine, whose slogan is “Science-Based Insights for a Meaningful Life.”
Fun Things That Keep Kids Engaged!
Macaroni Kid Asheville just published this “30 Free Educational Resources Kids Can Use At Home” guide that has segments for different ages and fun things to do for all!
This county-by-county list starts with Buncombe County and is followed by other counties with BBBSWNC branches.
Special Shopping Hours For Elderly People
Parents/Guardians, if you’re elderly, many local grocery stores have created special hours for you to shop that will minimize your chances of being out among the public, according to this Buncombe County website.
Asheville City Schools created this image to help you get the academic/school support your child/Little needs.
Buncombe County Schools Virtual Days launched March 18 to help you keep your child/your Little up to date with their school work. The school campuses may be temporarily closed, but Buncombe County Schools’ Virtual Days will allow learning to continue! BCS teachers have worked diligently to prepare lessons that help students remain connected to their curriculum and their classmates virtually. Learn more by clicking this link.
Free internet “hot spots” for Buncombe County Schools students: If you don’t have Internet at home and your child/your Little goes to Buncombe County Schools, the school system is offering “hotspots” that will help your child or Little get online to continue his/her classes. Parents of children who currently do not have Internet access at home may request a Homework Hotspot for connecting their child’s BCS 1:1 device to the Internet by clicking on this link.
Technical assistance for parents/guardians/students of Buncombe County Schools: Buncombe County Schools’ technology Help Desk is currently open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays and can be reached at 828.255.5987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
White Duck Taco is offering one free, regular-priced taco a day to school-aged children, Monday through Friday, during lunch or dinner, according to its Reddit site. ⠀⠀
Baked Pie Company is handing out free bagged lunches (PB&J, apple, milk, and a cookie) to families from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Tuesdays – Saturdays, according to The Asheville Citizen-Times.⠀⠀
Biscuit Head is offering a free biscuit a day to school-aged children who visit one of its locations, starting March 16., according to The Asheville Citizen-Times.⠀
My Father’s Pizza & Pasta in Black Mountain is offering free brown bag meals for all Pre-K- to 12th-grade children, according to their Facebook page. They are offering a ham or turkey sandwich along with a bag of chips and an apple. Stop by Monday through Friday anytime from 11 am to 9 pm.
Pescado’s Burritos in Brevard offers free tacos for kids in need while schools are closed.
School breakfast and lunch programs
Buncombe County Schools has begun breakfast and lunch programs, according to this excerpt of a March 17 story in The Asheville Citizen Times. Children ages 2-18 can eat for free. Breakfast is 7:30-8:30 a.m.; lunch is 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
- Oakley Elementary
- Johnston Elementary
- Emma Elementary,
- West Buncombe Elementary
- Woodfin Elementary
- Hominy Valley Elementary
- Pisgah Elementary
- Owen High School
- Black Mountain Primary
- Weaverville Elementary
- North Windy Ridge Intermediate
- Estes Elementary
Asheville City Schools began delivery March 17 to the following locations from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
- Community centers at Pisgah View Apartments
- Hillcrest Apartments
- Klondyke Apartments
- Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center
- Isaac Dickson Elementary School will have a drive-thru option, with that site open from 2-4 p.m.
Free Data Plans, Food Stamp Assistance and Other Services
Buncombe County government has created this website for updated news and information on the COVID-19 crisis. Click on the Community Resources tab, then go to the bottom of the document to access the “COVID-19 For Community Members” pdf to get daily updates on services about public assistance, community resources, new unemployment information, and other resources that might be beneficial to you (including waivers of late fees on delayed payments for certain utilities, plus 60 days of unlimited data for people with Internet providers).
Counseling for Littles/Children
If your Little or child at Asheville City Schools needs mental health support, school counselors, social workers and other professionals are available at 828-350-6133, according to this March 18 story in The Asheville Citizen-Times. “Buncombe County Schools counselors will assign social and emotional learning tasks on Google Classroom for students to access during the district’s Virtual Days program,” the story states. “According to BCS Student Services Director David Thompson, every school counselor will make a phone number available for students to anonymously call during school hours.” Also in the story are what five charter schools in Buncombe are doing.
Burke County government has created this website that has several helpful links, including where to find emergency child care services. There are links to the county’s COVID-19 YouTube channel, to Centers for Disease Control info, to EPA-approved disinfectants and county media briefings.
Burke County Schools has this website with links to food distribution sites, the day care application and the school systems latest update threads (hilo de actualizacion mas reciente). It also has links to remote learning resources, community volunteer forms and other helpful links.
Here’s some good news – With the help of one family working in Burke County, The Good Kitchen out of Charlotte is donating more than 25,000 kids meals to Burke County Public Schools as of March 27. The school system will give out the meals starting March 27 as part of the food distribution program taking place while schools are closed.
Cherokee County Schools is working hard to continue to provide learning opportunities for all of our students during this time of uncertainty, according to its website. “ACE and Remote Learning Plans will continue to guide and allow students to complete schoolwork at home on days when schools are closed, the website states. “We will continue to follow the directive of our state officials and provide remote learning opportunities as directed. As a school system, we are working with local businesses, charitable foundations, and state agencies to provide WiFi hubs to make our remote learning opportunities widely available to each community. We will continue to update as more resources become available.” ACE and Remote Learning Plans, plus more, are here.
Updates and local information from the Cherokee County Health Department are linked to this Facebook page.
School Breakfast and Lunch Programs
Henderson County Public Schools will provide meals to students over the school closure. Grab-and-go pickup meals will be available at no cost to children ages 2-18 at 12 school sites, weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students can pick up meals just outside school entrances at the following sites:
- Atkinson Elementary
- Clear Creek Elementary
- Dana Elementary
- Edneyville Elementary
- Etowah Elementary
- Fletcher Elementary
- Glenn C. Marlow Elementary
- Hillandale Elementary
- Mills River Elementary
- Sugarloaf Elementary
- Upward Elementary
- Hendersonville Middle.
Beginning March 18, Henderson County Public Schools’ Meals On the Bus mobile feeding site will operate its traditional summer route, stopping at six neighborhoods on the following schedule. Families who lack transportation should contact their child’s school so HCPS staff can deliver meals to their children.
- King Creek: 10:30-10:55 a.m.
- Dodd Meadows: 11:05-11:30 a.m.
- Shorty Collins: 11:40 a.m.-12:05 p.m.
- Leisure Lane: 12:15-12:35 p.m.
- Sugarloaf Apartments: 12:55-1:20 p.m.
- Conner Creek Mobile Home Park: 1:35-2 p.m.
HIGHLANDS (MACON COUNTY)
Macon County Schools’ website has information about food distribution sites; at-home learning; wifi access, devices and technical assistance; and more.
The Town of Highlands’ link has these links inside.
- North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services – NC updates & info on COVID-19
- CDC – Center for Disease Control & Prevention – Federal COVID-19 updates & information
- Macon County COVID-19 Call Center – 828.349.2517 – Monday-Friday (8am-5pm)
- Macon County Public Health– Facebook updates
- Angel Medical Center – Website Angel Medical Center on Facebook
- Highlands-Cashiers Hospital – Website Highlands – Cashiers Hospital on Facebook
- Macon County Public Schools – Website Macon County Public Schools on Facebook
CASHIERS (JACKSON COUNTY)
Jackson County Schools created these two websites:
- Request Form for Meal Delivery: https://www.jcpsnc.org/food
- Student Device Tech Support: https://jcps.zendesk.com
Jackson County Schools’ Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/jcpsnc/.
Polk County has placed its COVID-19 resources under one website, https://polkschools.org/coronavirus/. The site is extensive, with links to student food distribution sites, free wifi locations and Internet access, student activities like Chrome Music Lab. There is a telehealth service link to Blue Ridge Health, as well as links on how to protect yourself and what to do if you’re sick. There’s even a NC State Health Plan with info for state employees.
School Breakfast and Lunch Programs
In Swain County, school bus drivers will be running their regular school routes throughout Swain County to deliver meals to children. They will make all regular stops to see if there are children that need meals. All kids will receive the meals for free. If there are other children at the homes the buses stop at, they may receive a meal too (they do not have to be enrolled in Swain County Schools to receive free meals). The buses will be on routes between 10am and 12pm. The bus driver will stop at each bus stop, blow the horn and wait several minutes to see if someone comes out to pick up meals. Please send adults or older children out if possible to pick up the meals. Meals will still be available at school cafeterias for pick up from 7:20am-2pm. To be added to the bus route for food delivery, please call Tessa at 828-488-3129 x 5163.