North County church reopens camp, preschool while adhering to CDC restrictions

Missouri

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – A preschool is now open in north St. Louis County in one of the hardest-hit areas affected by Covid-19.

The staff at Third Presbyterian Church didn’t let strict guidelines stop them from giving back to their community through education and empowerment.

As this Camp Flourish counselor reads the bible to two toddlers, it’s a reminder that guidance from the Lord isn’t only being taught to the youth but is being used as a backbone for this program as well.

“To put on a camp and preschool like this a financial sacrifice, there is no money being made here right now,” said Rev. Cedric Portis, Sr.

The reverend is transparent that the preschool and camp is losing thousands of dollars every day.

Still, he says it was their obligation to the community to create a space for the children.

“Yes, it’s a risk we are taking. Yes, it’s a financial hardship we’re taking, but it’s something we’re willing to sacrifice because that’s what we’re called to do.”

COVID-19 put heavy restrictions on the 16-year program, dropping the total of attendees from 200 down to only 40.

Handwashing and cleanliness are key from the moment the kids step in the door until when they leave.

Inside the learning areas, its split with a partition and desk are spread apart to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“We have a staff that that’s their entire job is sanitizing and continue to sanitize to make sure we’re as safe as possible.”

The children will also spend some time outdoors in the playground areas.

Staff is on hand to sanitize and clean the entire area following each class.

It’s tough and tedious, but counselors say it’s a better place for the kids rather than potentially being at risk in their own neighborhoods.

“It’s our job to reassure them and to keep allowing them to have a childhood and enjoy their summer,” said Christopher Partlow, counselor.

How the church will continue to fund this summer program and yearly preschool?

Pastor Porter says he isn’t too sure, but for now, he’s counting his blessings that the Lord will make a way for his children.

“It’s what we owe this community,” said the reverend.

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