UWSC Fills Gaps During Summer
The areas of health, education, and financial stability intersect frequently, which is very true when helping children during summer months.
Research from the Annie E Casey Foundation and the national Campaign for Grade Level Reading has shown that students who are not engaged in either academics or enrichment activities lose ground with their education over the summer months. Additionally, students from families with lower resources lose, on average, two months or more in reading proficiency. Some students are already behind academically due to challenges and barriers they experience during the school year. The lack of learning opportunities in the summer can make that gap even wider. What is most alarming is that by the end of 5th grade, these children who would benefit from additional support are nearly three grade equivalents behind more affluent peers in reading proficiency.
Summer is also a time when some families have a harder time making their budgets work because their food costs increase so dramatically. Food insecurity during these summer months negatively impacts these families the most, as children who are normally receiving meals at school during the day do not have that option. Healthy food options may be limited as well because the food that is available for quick and easy preparation may not be the healthiest choice.
Knowing all of these things, United Way of Story County has taken an active role in providing food and academic enrichment opportunities for children during the summer. Together, with other community partners, UWSC through the Story County Reads education initiative helps fund and implement summer programs in Ames, Ballard, Collins-Maxwell and Nevada.
UWSC is working with the school districts of Ames, Nevada, Collins-Maxwell and Ballard along with the Summer Learning team for Story County Reads to organize and implement the summer food and enrichment programs to complement the academic program.
These programs are free of charge for participants, and many volunteers will be needed to make them happen! Volunteers can work directly with youth as classroom or activity assistants, as food servers, or as check-in assistants. Please visit The Volunteer Center of Story County for more information or contact our Story County Reads Coordinator, Malai Amfahr, to sign up.
- • Ames Public Library: June 4 - August 17• “Little Cyclone Camp” at Meeker Elementary School in Ames: June 11 - July 26• “Summer Enrichment” at Collins-Maxwell Elementary School : June 4 - July 19• “Food for Thought” at Nevada Central Elementary School: June 11 - July 26
- Enrichment activities from previous years included learning opportunities in the areas of science, technology, reading, engineering, math and the arts. All sites for programs rely heavily on volunteers to provide the meals and the learning experiences. See the impact in the videos below!
Ames Community School District, Ames Parks and Recreation, Ames Public Library, ACPC, Boys & Girls Club, Collins-Maxwell School District, Heartland AEA, Huxley Public Library, Iowa State University, Story County Extension and Outreach, Mary Greeley Medical Center, Nevada Central Elementary, Nevada Kiwanis, Nevada Public Library, Nevada School District, Raising Readers in Story County, Central Iowa RSVP, The Volunteer Center of Story County, and YSS.
We would not be able to create and sustain great summer programming for children without the help of our dedicated partners. THANK YOU for helping us build a community of learners!