By Luci Manning
Young Kids Learn Spanish at Nebraska Summer Camp (Associated Press, Nebraska)
Students at Grand Island’s YWCA’s Immersion Ranch Summer Camp are finding that learning a foreign language is fun! The summer program is teaching young students Spanish through games and activities. Participating preschool and elementary aged students can only speak English freely for ten minutes per day during this weeklong program. The rest of the three hours is spent learning the basics, including directions, animals and much more. Instructor Lisa Brown-Olsen told the Associated Press that at this age, the children are predisposed to learning the language well because their minds are like sponges.
This summer, Manhattan’s most elite kitchens are getting help from 85 high school students. The aspiring chefs are part of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for at-risk young people to enter the food industry. Chef Daniel Boulud told the Wall Street Journal, that for young people this program is essentially “like opening one of the greatest cookbooks and living through it.” The students gain valuable, real-life experiences, from honing their knife skills to balancing flavors to plating intricate dishes.
Students graduating from John Wesley United Methodist Church’s Earn-a-Bike program can travel home in style this Friday. As participants in the program, students will become the new owners of the bikes they have diligently repaired. The weeklong curriculum teaches students how to maintain bicycles and educates them on important safety lessons. Church Youth Director Jeremy Tagliaferre told the Cape Cod Times that they are hoping to expand the camp into an afterschool program in the fall.
By Luci Manning
Chambersburg students participating in the Kids Learning After School summer program celebrated the program’s 11th annual Diversity Day with a colorful poster display this week! The artwork showcased the themes in three posters illustrating people of all colors holding hands next to a globe. When the Public Opinion asked Odalys Ramos what she learned at camp she replied, “We can all communicate in different ways and that we each are different, we love to do stuff together and we like getting to know each other and knowing who we are deep inside.”
A new building will house the YWCA afterschool program, allowing it to expand to accommodate all the families who have been eagerly waiting to get off the afterschool program’s waiting list, reports the Newburyport News. The maximum capacity of the space has doubled, enabling the Y to serve the community better than ever, providing a safe environment for many more Newsburyport children to learn through play.
Tower Street Community Center’s summer learning program, an extension of Westerly Public Schools’ Before and After School Enrichment Program, is partnering with Save the Bay, a local environmental organization, to teach students about science, water quality, habitats and biodiversity. The Westerly Sun reported on the program’s latest adventure—a trip aboard the Elizabeth Morris where students explored the ecology of the Little Narragansett Bay. The students, equipped with binoculars and maps, were excited to spot a cunner, a tautog, and a black-fingered mud crab.
Local boxer Jerry Belmontes visited Corpus Christi Parks & Recreation Department’s Latchkey Program at Schanen Elementary School to give 130 children some heartfelt advice about bullying. Belmontes dropped out of prekindergarten and kindergarten because he was bullied and now he’s determined to help others. According to the Caller Times, Latchkey Program students have also heard from members of the military representatives from colleges about reading, nutrition and recycling.
By Luci Manning
Young Man Floundered Until a Cape Family Took a Chance (Cape Cod Times, Massachusetts)
Billy Cook-Warren, a 19 year old who recently graduated from Bourne High School and overcame many obstacles on his path to higher education, is excited to begin college this fall at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. After staying with various foster families, he finally found himself in the care of Trish and Rob Lubold, foster parents who believed and supported him. In addition to the support of his foster family, Billy credits his participation in the Boys & Girls Club of Cape Cod with keeping him engaged in learning. Billy told the Cape Cod Times, “I had a tough upbringing, and no kid should have to grow up like that. They need to pour a little more money into foster care and after-school programs. It’s not a hand out; it’s a hand up.”
Last weekend, the Loveland Stage Company Children’s Summer Theater brought a classic Dickens tale to the stage. Seventy students participated in the production of “Oliver,” taking on important roles both on and off the stage. Tammi Sanders, a mother whose two children performed, spoke highly of their involvement to the Cincinnati Enquirer, saying that “they learn to work with the other children, take direction, memorize lines, as well as choreography; just the whole processes is a learning experience.”
“This is awesome! I learned how to ride without training wheels, and now I have a brand-new bike!” exclaimed 7 year-old Key’Shon Holmes. Key’Shon is one of 160 students who received a bike after taking part in the YMCA’s afterschool program at Skelly Elementary School. The bicycles, helmets and bicycling education were gifts from local nonprofits. YMCA Summer Learning Institute Program Director Emma Sikich said the gift of the bicycles gives “these students an opportunity beyond the program – we hope it plants a seed for a new activity and physical development in families,” reports the Tulsa World.
By Luci Manning
Maria Ortiz, an Afterschool Ambassador and the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant director for Poudre School District, calls on parents, school systems, local and state governments and businesses to help students meet the need for summer learning opportunities across the country in a piece for the Coloradoan. She writes:
“Clearly, we need more summer learning programs, and just as clearly, the problem is funding them. Right now, the federal government provides some funding for summer learning, by way of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative — the principal federal funding stream for after-school programs. But the funding is insufficient to provide summer learning opportunities for all the kids who need them. Until we can find a way to fix that with contributions from parents, school systems, local and state governments, business, and individual donors, too many of our kids will spend more time with video games and remote controls than with all the wondrous opportunities that summer learning programs can offer them.”
In just one week, elementary school children participating in the Ashland Community and Technical College summer learning camp will have created more than 30 electronic devices including burglar alarms, night lights and police sirens. In this week’s camp the young students are learning theories behind various electrical components and are putting their knowledge to the test. Craig McDavid, the program’s instructor, told the Daily Independent the time he spent at this camp as a child motivated him to have a career in science and that he hopes these children are similarly inspired. He said that “this kind of hands-on learning is the best kind of learning. It’s what brings it home.”
Students at York Middle School’s (YMS) Summer Learning Academy are gaining some real world media experience and helping their community’s nonprofits in a big way. The students created commercials to help York Adopt-A-Pet and the Palmer Museum. Matt Maltsberger, YMS social studies and media productions teacher, told the York News-Times that summer learning programs allow students to have educational opportunities outside of the traditional classroom, “I think that getting kids in a different setting—a setting that lets them express themselves—is beneficial. It’s the ideal situation for great opportunities to learn.”
By Luci Manning
Freedom Summer organizer, Bob Moses, who led the historic African American voter registration movement 50 years ago, is back to rally for better education in Mississippi. At a Conference in Tougaloo, parents, experts and activists talked about what they can do to help students improve their test scores and prepare them for a successful future. “During the session, both panelists and audience members called for better funded schools, more access to pre-kindergarten, higher quality teachers and summer and after-school programs,” the Clarion Ledger reports.
Members of the Coast Guard taught Toledo’s Maritime Academy cadets basic swimming and treading techniques, scuba diving and rowing this summer. One cadet who was initially timid around the water now participates in the relay races and feels quite comfortable. Sheri Rodgers, an instructor at the academy told The Blade, “Because she knew all the new survival stuff, she got across the pool with confidence and with eyes big as saucers saying, ‘Look, I did it!’” The weeklong camp was funded by a grant from a 21st Century Community Learning Center.
The red-legged frog, which first gained popularity as the featured species in Mark Twain’s short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” is now a California state symbol, thanks to some civic-minded students at Sea View Elementary. The effort began in an afterschool program, and quickly gained popularity throughout the school. Sea View Elementary principal, Timothy Steele, communicated the exhilaration of the process. He told the Desert Sun, “It’s beyond exciting. It’s surreal.” Not only did the students learn about amphibians and the legislative process, but as Steele said, “we can make a difference no matter how old we are.”
As part of the 2014 Summer Learning Passport Program, New Britain students got a behind the scenes look at what it takes to publish a daily newspaper earlier this week. Over the course of the summer students will also visit the New Britain Fire Department, youth theatre, police department and Avery Beverages. At each stop of the summer learning initiative, students are taken behind the scenes to learn more about each industry.
By Luci Manning
To promote summer learning and increasing access to healthy food and physical activity, Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared June 20th Washington Summer Learning Day. Connie Ladenburg, a former state legislator and current member of the Piece County Council, commended the declaration in a piece for the News Tribune. Ladenburg wrote, “We have research and knowledge telling us quality summer programs make a difference, and we must continue investing in community and school partnerships that provide the quality summer learning experiences that both support children’s health and academic success while promoting experiences that create the lasting memories that all kids deserve during their summer vacation.”
Tennessee first lady Crissy Haslam is on “book patrol” with the Memphis Police Department, traveling to summer camps and neighborhoods throughout the city to encourage students to read. READ20 Book Patrol goes beyond improving literacy, and as Haslam tells the Daily Times, it helps students connect with police officers “in the community in a casual and supportive environment.”
Last Wednesday a boat designed and built by 15 sixth graders after school was launched at Oakdale Lake. The students from M.C. Smith Intermediate School worked with the Hudson Sloop Club for the past ten weeks, studying boat design and building the farm punt style boat from scratch with hand tools. “They surprised us with every class. They took to using the tools and didn’t want to let them go” said Ed Csukas, one of the Hudson Sloop Club members who headed the project, to the Register-Star.
Students who tend the Southbridge Community Youth Garden are making their community a little brighter with fresh vegetables and an entrepreneurial spirit. When the afterschool program first started, many students could not name a vegetable they wanted to grow, but now they are experts, the News Journal reports. The students grow a variety of vegetables and sell them at a youth-led farm stand on the last Friday of each month. According to the National Gardening Association, this sort of program is so important because kids who are involved in gardening tend know more about good nutrition, have broader tastes, and eat more vegetables.
By Luci Manning
“An after-school program that served thousands of students in one of the region’s poorest districts has shut down after losing a federal grant,” the Dallas Morning News reports. Parents and educators praised the Quest afterschool program as a successful model for keeping students on track to graduate, and an independent auditor warned that students’ test scores might dip without the program. Officials are brainstorming and fundraising ways to try and continue the program next year but caution that they won’t be able to provide the same level of programming.
A popular afterschool craft program at Liberty Elementary has tripled in size since the beginning of the school year as more students see the creative projects their peers are completing after school. On any given day, afterschool students can be seen painting with water colors, stringing together beaded necklaces, and sculpting with clay. One sixth grader, Allie Krebs, who learned how to crochet blankets, spoke fondly about her new hobby to the Murray Journal, saying that “crocheting relaxed me if I’m stressed out or nervous and it makes me happy.”
“A Place We Can Call Home,” a powerful documentary produced by the Storytelling Project Incorporating Technology for Ideological Transformation (SPIT-IT) afterschool program, tells the stories of three of the club’s immigrant youths. According to the Telegram & Gazette, SPIT-IT empowers students to voice their experiences and perspectives on the various social realities and public policy issues that affect them through the creation of documentaries. The students in SPIT-IT conceived, wrote and produced their latest film to show how immigration has impacted Worcester’s young people, many of whom are first or second generation immigrants.
Twenty students from the Stamford area stood proudly on the deck of the Ticonderoga for a special graduation ceremony last Tuesday. As part of the Young Mariners afterschool enrichment program, the students learned the basics of sailing as well as swimming, CPR, navigation, boating safety and off the water engineering and math principles. Some of the Young Mariners told the Stamford Advocate that their favorite experiences include taking water samples and learning about how to keep the oceans clean.
By Luci Manning
Of the 21 million students who receive free and reduced price lunch during the school year, only 3 million receive federally funded meals during the summer. While that figure shows that only a fraction of the students who would benefit from the summer nutrition programs are getting the support they need, Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, told PBS Newshour that there has actually been a 6 percent increase between 2012 and 2013 in the amount of students receiving federally funded meals during the summer. In the interview, Weill said there needs to be a greater effort to help these students attain quality, nutrient-dense meals in order to avoid the rise in hunger and obesity that typical occurs during the summer months.
For some students at King Elementary School, the afterschool program they attend during the year doesn’t end when summer vacation begins. Thanks to a partnership with the nonprofit Jane Foundation and a 21st Century grant, the school is able to offer music lessons during the summer. Jane Magers, director and CEO of the Jane Foundation, was so eager to get involved by providing donated instruments because, as she told the Des Moines Register, the organization “sees music as being critical to a child’s development, not only for the creative aspects but also to foster life skills.”
Thanks to an outstanding collaboration from businesses, nonprofits, a university and many members of the community, students in the Klamath Falls area have the opportunity to design and race model cars after school. Ponderosa Middle School students are putting the finishing touches on the hand held race cars that they designed in a 3-D modeling program with the help of Oregon Institute of Technology engineering students. One of the OIT students told the Herald and News that this type of activity is a great way to introduce the students to a lot of different STEM fields, saying “You get basic aerodynamics, you get 3-D modeling, you get a little bit of physics and it seems to be a pretty fun environment where they get to enjoy themselves while doing it.” The students will race their cars for the science fair at Oregon Tech Thursday.
Two ambitious high school students from a Milwaukee suburb are stepping up to help their fellow students through a tutoring program they started called Kids4Kids. The weekly program, which takes place at Milwaukee College Prep’s Lloyd Street Campus, is gaining in popularity as students from additional suburbs sign on to be tutors to inner city students. Chandlar Strauss, one of the co-founders, told the Journal Sentinel that she is hopeful that Kids4Kids can help “close the educational gap that exists between the city and suburbs and build a relationship between the communities.”