It was a soggy Saturday, but that did not stop the dedicated Adult & Community Education (ACE) volunteers at Royce Learning Center from coming together for a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon last weekend. Volunteers, Teachers and Staff gathered in the Royce Pavilion for the first time since Shelter in Place orders went into effect in March of 2020. Even with face coverings and safe social distancing, everyone was glad to see each other in person instead of via Zoom, which has become the mainstay in the ACE Program.
Like other schools and learning institutions, the ACE Program shifted gears and took the program virtual. The program has been able to continue a successful on-line learning platform where Zoom meetings and breakout rooms allow for their standard model of one-to-one learning. For those unable to Zoom due to lack of internet service or compatible devices, information and educational material packets are mailed or delivered to learners upon enrolling and teachers review the assignments via conference calls to reinforce goals and areas of study.
Program Coordinator, Elaine Fox, thanked everyone for braving the weather stating, “Despite unprecedented challenges of communication, of health issues, of all kinds of obstacles that have not only been in our learner’s way, but ours as well, I thank you for getting past those obstacles. You were instrumental in how we succeeded this year.”
Succeed they did. The Program, which usually averages over 300 adult learners each year, has been able to assist over 200 learners since going to the virtual model last Spring. Learners come to the ACE program to find help with various needs including basic reading, writing and math skills, GED preparation, Firefighter/Police/EMT exams, Armed Services Vocational Battery (ASVAB) test, computer skills and applications, and other specific employment related certifications.
While the ACE program has been able to successfully provide distance learning over the past year, they are hoping to be able to return to in-person learning at the start of the new school year in August.
As the volunteers enjoyed a homemade meal, they celebrated their success and each other, and did not let the rain dampen their spirits, or the message. As ACE Teacher, Delores Powell said; “Even though it’s raining outside we have sunshine in our hearts.”