HARTFORD, CT -- Nearly 3,400 children will participate in summer learning programs and receive healthy food as part of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut’s Summer Smarts initiative. Eleven community organizations serving children in Greater Hartford benefited from awards totaling $429,500.
United Way Summer Smarts is part of a year-round strategy to ensure more fourth graders are reading at grade level and more ninth graders are starting school prepared for academic success – two key milestones to increasing on-time high school graduation.
Research shows that children who do not participate in quality summer learning programs may start school four-to-six weeks behind their peers. Many children also lack healthy meals during the summer months when free and reduced-price school lunch programs are unavailable.
“We know that preventing the ‘summer slide’ is important for children to do well academically,” said Paula S. Gilberto, President and CEO, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. “Quality summer learning programs also increase student motivation, have a positive effect on relationships with peers and adults, and contribute to a love for learning. United Way is proud to continue its support of summer learning programs through the generosity of donors and workplace partners. Together, we’ll build healthy minds and bodies this summer.”
Organizations receiving funding for summer learning programs offer a variety of both educational and enrichment activities including literacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-focused curriculum, physical health and wellness activities and nutritious meals each day.
Awards were made to:
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford’s Summer Fun Club: Children and youth between the ages of six and 13 will develop their individual intellectual, social and physical potential this summer.
- Camp Courant: Hartford children and youth between the ages of five and 12 participate in active learning opportunities and fun activities focused on positive youth development and healthy lifestyle choices.
- Christian Activities Council’s Adventures in the City Freedom School: Hartford students in grades K-5 participate in a six-week, full-day program with quality academic and character-building enrichment, civic engagement and social action, and nutrition, health and mental health services and family engagement.
- ConnectiKids: Students from West Middle and Dr. Michael D. Fox Schools, ages six to 14 participate in leadership and character development, nutrition and general recreational activities.
- Consolidated School District of New Britain’s Summer Enrichment Experience (SEE) and XTREME programs: SEE is a full-day, three week-program for students in grades K-5 that is focused on academic achievement and experiential learning activities. XTREME is a full-day, three-week program offered to student in grades 6 through 8 designed to provide middle school students with opportunities to participate in high interest curriculum-based and enrichment activities that focus on strengthening STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills.
- Harc, Inc.’s Capable Kids Summer Camp program: In collaboration with Camp Courant, the program creates inclusive opportunities that allow children with special needs to share their experiences with peers of all abilities, cultures and backgrounds over a six-week camp experience that offers an extended learning and enrichment program that provides recreational, therapeutic and meaningful life experiences.
- Enfield Key Initiatives to Early Education (KITE)’s Countdown to Kindergarten Camp: A two-week program focused on preparing Enfield children with little to no pre-school experience to enter Kindergarten set-up for success.
- The Village for Families & Children: Students from SAND (grades 1-3) and M.D. Fox (grades K-3) Schools, Hartford, participate in a four-week program focusing on reading skill development, critical cognitive skills and positive social interactions among peers and adults.
- Women’s League Child Development Center: In partnership with the Children’s Defense Fund, the Children’s Defense Fund Big League Freedom School provides a six-week program for children and families in the Hartford, to reduce or prevent summer reading loss.
- YMCA of Greater Hartford’s Y-BELL Power Scholars Academy: In collaboration with the YMCA of the USA and Building Educated Leaders for Life, students in grades K-5 participate in programming that reduces summer learning loss and narrows the achievement gap
- YWCA of New Britain’s Summer Bridge: Incorporates literacy support in addition to supporting social emotional skill development, developing healthy behaviors and building career awareness for rising students in grades 6 and 7.
In addition to preventing summer learning loss, United Way and its partners also focus on quality early childhood education/Kindergarten readiness and reducing chronic absenteeism.
To make a direct impact on children throughout the summer and support great programs like these, donate to United Way Summer Smarts by visiting unitedwayinc.org/summer-smarts/.
About United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut
United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut mobilizes people and organizations to give, advocate and volunteer to promote child and youth success, ensure families are financially secure, provide access to health-related services and supports, and ensure basic needs are met.