A child participant in the Publicolor program. Photo: Publicolor

Publicolor eases shift to online learning for students, parents

The Coronavirus has left many students and their parents dealing with a multitude of challenges. NYC non-profit Publicolor is providing online tutoring, stipends and food delivery to families to help assist. 

COLOR Club Director Natasha Seng has been with Publicolor for over five years. She says that a lot of families in the program are going through a tough time and Publicolor is seeking to ease some of the stress on their shoulders. 

Right now, we provide as much as we can. There’s constant communication, emotional health services, an inventory team that donates food and we’re still paying our students stipends.” 

Publicolor currently has 251 students ranging from 7-12th grade enrolled in their program. Before most of NYC was shut down, Publicolor served as a second home for many students. 

“A lot of them are overwhelmed and for some it is pretty daunting,” Said Seng. “We want to make sure they learn and that we support them.” 

Lindsay Guallpa, 17, is a student enrolled in the program. She says Publicolor has been even more helpful during the pandemic. 

“My family knows that if it comes down to the worst we don’t have to worry about food, we know that Publicolor can help us out. The reassurance makes us all relieved.” 

Along with providing food and stipends, Publicolor provides students with a tutor who meets with a student every weekday for up to two hours, along with daily check-ins. The one on one time with students is even more important now that learning has shifted to online classrooms. 

The shift from in-person learning to online learning has been difficult for some students. For Guallpa, the tutoring is crucial to her learning. 

“The way we are taught is different now. I need someone to guide me” 

Jemme Aldridge, 35, became a tutor at Publicolor at the start of the pandemic but has been involved with the organization for about 12 years. Her approach is to try to relate new topics to students in a manner they can relate to. This means comparing blood cells to a Marvel defense team or comparing pizza to a pancreas during what she calls “science time.” 

“I just try to find new ways to get them involved so they can just focus on the knowledge.” Said Aldridge.

One of her favorite aspects of being a tutor is being able to connect to young minds.  

“Tutoring is more than just tutoring. There’s a lot of mentoring.” 

Publicolor plans on keeping the same level of assistance for the foreseeable future. 

“I think that all of our kids are thriving with our staff.” Said Seng. “We want to continue providing encouragement and assistance everyday until we get back to normal.” 

Parents are encouraged to visit Publicolor.org for further information.