Lieutenant Governor to Visit Little Cyclone Summer Camp

2014-06-12 - Lieutenant Governor to Visit Little Cyclone Summer Camp
Lieutenant Governor Reynolds will visit Ames Middle School on Monday, June 16, at 10:30 a.m. to learn more about Story County’s summer academic, enrichment and meal program serving nearly 200 students. A coalition of more than ten community partners is working together to offer six weeks of academic support to students identified by Ames Community Schools as struggling readers. Students in grades kindergarten through eighth will spend mornings focused on strengthening academic skills and avoiding the summer slide. Three-quarters of the participants will stay for the enrichment activities to round out their experience and be given a snack before heading home.
“This program addresses a number of challenges faced by students each summer,” said Jean Kresse, president and CEO of United Way of Story County, which facilitates the partnership.  “We are proud to work with so many organizations bringing support to students that struggle with the dual challenge of reading proficiency and food insecurity.”
Providing students access to quality learning and instruction during the summer is critical to avoid a loss of skills. Ames participates in the Grade Level Reading Campaign which addresses support for students in the areas of school readiness, school attendance and summer learning.  These three factors are critical to putting students on a path to reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Students who do not meet this benchmark are more likely to drop out of school before earning a high school diploma.
July is traditionally the month that sees a sharp increase in the need for free meals. Students on free and reduced lunch do not have access to healthy, affordable meals during the summer. The Ames program, through the Story County Hunger Collaboration, is working together to support families experiencing food insecurity. Offering meals and snacks during the summer program helps meet this need for many at-risk children. The Food Research and Action Center reports that in 2013, Iowa saw a 16.6 percent increase in demand for summer meals in July, exceeding the national demand increase of 5.7 percent.
The Little Cyclone Summer Camp is a joint effort of many organizations including Ames Community School District, Ames Public Library, Heartland AEA, Morning Rotary Club of Ames, Raising Readers of Story County, Rotary Club of Ames, United Ways of Iowa, United Way of Story County, United Way Worldwide , Volunteer Center of Story County, and Youth and Shelter Services.