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To help make sure kids are off the streets and in safe, fun learning environments this summer, the Children’s Services Council has approved $500,000 in additional funding to expand summer activities for children in St. Lucie County.
For more than twenty years, the Children’s Services Council has been dedicated to ensuring access to affordable summer learning experiences for local children. This year, ten programs will receive much-needed funding to assist children in our community by providing full-time summer activities that run at least 8 weeks of the summer break. The goal is two-fold: to enhance our community by keeping kids off the streets over the summer and to keep them engaged in learning activities to help avoid any potential learning loss.
The new or expanded summer programs that will receive funding from Children’s Services Council include Boys & Girls Clubs, Give Back 2 Kids, Grace Educational Center, Helping People Succeed, In the Image of Christ, IRSC – Emerging Technologies, Lindsay School of the Arts, Lincoln Park Community Center, and Word of Faith Academy. These programs are added to those already providing year-round services to children at ALPI, E.N.D. It, Frontline for Kids, Future Generations, Multi-Cultural Resource Center, Save Our Children, Sword Outreach & Mentoring, The Arc of St. Lucie County and YMCA of the Treasure Coast.
Notable enhancements this year are programs focusing on workforce readiness activities for teens through an expanded Boys & Girls Club program at their Westside campus, as well as STEM focus at the IRSC – Emerging Technology Summer Learning Experience. All programs receiving funding support from the Children’s Services Council will incorporate language and literacy skills for school age children and career exploration activities for older youth.
The selected programs were evaluated based upon their focus on mitigating summer learning loss, program location, projected number of children to be served and the estimated cost to families. Together these programs expect to serve an additional 3,000 local children in summer programs that will help improve their academic performance during a time when students typically lose ground. Sean Boyle, CEO of the Children’s Services Council, noted that while summer camps are designed to be fun, these programs focus on much more. “Each of these programs has a plan for high-quality summer learning opportunities. Having fun is a part of that, and we, of course, want them to be safe, but ensuring that they are continuing to learn is so important during the summer months when they are away from the classroom.”
In addition to these summer learning programs, the Children’s Services Council is again partnering with the St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce, to provide local educational and recreational opportunities for youth participating in summer learning programs. Working through the Chamber’s Seven Gables House, summer camps can book excursions and field trips to area attractions like the UDT Navy Seal Museum, trips with Lisa’s Kayaks, tours on the River Lily Eco Cruise and much more. This “Summer Passport” partnership has created some first time experiences for youth as well as boosted local businesses during the summer months.