Hazleton One Community Center becomes virtual classroom for students

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Hazleton One Community Center has always been known as a place where young people can come and be safe and take part in all kinds of activities.

Now it’s taking on another mission: virtual classes. This may look like a classroom inside any school in our region, but this is a room inside the Hazleton One Community Center which is run by the Hazleton Integration Project.

Now it is used for virtual classes. Nancy Jones tells Eyewitness News she does not have internet at her home and her two children including 10-year-old Jayden would not be able to attend virtual classes.

“Well, I’m very excited that they open the HIP building. We are going through a lot of problems in Hazleton with coronavirus with schools not being open they’ve been so grateful so they can come here,” Jones said.

These students attend various schools in the Hazleton Area School District. Many of them recently moved into the Hazleton area.

“We have an expanding population, a lot of newcomers in our area they have questions,” Bob Curry, Founding President, Hazleton One Community Center, said.

Curry says many of young people who normally come to the community center already facing challenges are now facing educational challenges.

“It puts tremendous pressure on the newcomers the part of language barriers. Everybody has a different set of pressures and I think all social service organizations need to take it very seriously in terms of what they can do,” Curry said.

Karen Berrios helps students navigate the virtual classes.

“It’s a challenge for example they started two three weeks ago sons of them even today they were still struggling. So that’s been a little bit harder to get classes because of language barrier,” Berrios said.

Jesus Rivera is a ninth-grader at Hazleton Area High School.

“We have some people around who can help you you can say I need a hand cause like if your home it’s all different. My parents they are going to be like oh I can help you . Here we have someone,” Rivera said.

Officials at the Hazleton One Community Center say they are trying to purchase additional computers to help more students if need be moving forward in the COVID-19 era of education.

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