The Voluntary Action Center is once again seeking instructors to offer free classes intended to fulfill the community education component of its Christmas Program.

Participation in at least one community education class is required for anyone participating in the annual holiday assistance program. To qualify families must also live in Gordon County, provide proof of income or food stamps benefit letter, complete an application and have custody of a child or children under the age of 18.

Unlike in previous years when classes were offered in person, the center will be releasing all courses as webinars this year in an effort to limit possible exposure to COVID-19.

“COVID has made us rethink how we do a lot of what we do, but I also think that’s made us make some changes that are better for our clients,” said VAC Executive Director Stacy Long. “Classes being online helps our teachers because they can create the videos whenever they want, and it helps parents because they can take the classes at their leisure, around their work schedules.”

Long said the center is looking for teachers to offer webinars on subjects such as money management, budgeting, parenting skills, leadership and job skills. The videos can be recorded on cell phones or through Zoom. PowerPoints paired with voice recordings are also acceptable.

“We’re looking for anyone who has a class they can teach that they’d like to do for the webinar. It can be anything from money management, budgeting, coupon, parenting skills, leadership or job skills. Really, it can be anything that would be of interest or a benefit to a parent who has a child,” Long said.

Examples of previously offered courses include “Cooking & Nutrition,” “Preparing Children to Read,” “Bank on Your Success — Banking Basics,” and “Conversations Count,” a course taught by Debbie Ross from Ferst Readers.

All webinar materials must be turned in by teachers to the VAC by the end of August. Anyone interested in teaching a class should contact Stacy Long at stacy.long@voluntaryactioncenter.org as soon as possible.

In addition to providing toys and clothing to children from low income families each Christmas, the VAC’s Christmas program traditionally provides families with a Christmas meal box and a gift certificate to a local grocery store.

This year, the center will offer gift certificates to families in lieu of the Christmas meal boxes in the amount typically spent to provide the meal.

In 2019, toys and clothing were provided to 799 children across Gordon County.

Signups to participate in the program will begin in October. Classes will be posted online as early as September.

Signups for the VAC’s senior Christmas program, open to those over the age of 60 who fall at or below 140% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, will start Sept. 1.

In 2019, the VAC provided Christmas meal boxes to 1,909 seniors.

For more information about the Voluntary Action Center or its holiday programs, visit www.voluntaryactioncenter.org/what-we-do.html.

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