Flood City Youth

AmeriServ Financial recently donated $5,000 to the Flood City Youth Academy Virtual Education. Pictured are (left to right) Deacon Jeffrey Wilson, Flood City Youth and Fitness Academy program director; Oscar Cashaw, executive director of the academy; and Jack Babich, AmeriServ senior vice president and chief human relations officer.

After months of fundraising and work, the grand opening of the Virtual Learning Center at The Flood City Youth Fitness Academy is scheduled for 4 p.m. Dec. 1.

"It's going to be, we think, a real game-changer for the youth of our city," academy Program Director Deacon Jeffery Wilson said.

Local students will be able to visit the 200 Lincoln St. location and use resources there to attend online classes, complete virtual assignments and receive on-site homework assistance.

Academy officials have purchased 20 desktop computers and 10 laptops, along with printers and new furniture.

Wilson said the computers will fill a gap for area students who don't have access to devices.

The center is also a Greater Johnstown School District approved Wi-Fi hotspot.

The learning center was the vision of the academy's executive director, Oscar Cashaw Sr.

He and Wilson reached out in August to local fundraiser Jack Babich, AmeriServ senior vice president and chief human relations officer, and Community Foundation for the Alleghenies President Mike Kane.

Together, they launched an account at the foundation to collect donations for the effort with a goal of raising $40,000 to buy 100 computers.

Fundraising efforts are continuing and anyone wishing to contribute can do so by visiting www.cfalleghenies.org/connecting-local-kids.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the event will have a limited number of guests and those individuals will be required to wear masks and submit to temperature checks.

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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