Many of us have fond childhood memories of carefree summer days filled with friends, outdoor fun, camps and family trips. These fun-filled days were also opportunities for enriching new experiences and building skills.
Summer is just as important for today’s youth. But for some students, when the school ends for the summer so do educational opportunities, healthy eating options, outdoor recreation and adequate adult supervision. For today’s families living on fixed incomes, including single parents or grandparents raising grandchildren, summers are a challenge both in time and money. Camps are expensive. Transportation is a challenge. Resources are scarce.
According to studies by the Summer Learning Association, low-income students lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains. Most children—especially children at high risk of obesity—gain weight more rapidly when they are out of school during summer break. And more than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities.
This is why Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood (CVPromise) and South Bay Community Services (SBCS) After School Programs provide resources for students and their families during the summer months.
CVPromise offers both Camp Promise, a STEM-based summer camp for Castle Park Elementary’ s fourth through sixth grade students, and KinderCamp, a school readiness program for incoming Castle Park Elementary kindergarteners.
These camp and summer activities don’t just help the campers retain the information they’ve already learned, they also provide students with a head start and strategies on how to be successful for the next school year. Last year’s CVPromise data shows that students who attended Camp Promise in 2014 scored 5% to 10% better on Lexile reading scores than students who did not attend camp.
SBCS After School programs also continue to provide resources for families and students in various South County communities during the summer months. Recently students from National City Middle, Southwest High, Mar Vista High and Hilltop High participated in a ‘campus crawl’ to UCLA and USC. As a bonus, students also visited the Santa Monica pier.
“This was the first time our students had ever visited the Santa Monica pier,” said David Olivera, SBCS after school program director. “For most, it was also the first time on the beach.”
The new school year is just around the corner. To help prepare more studenst, SBCS in partnership with UCSD Nak Alumni Association, will be providing free school backpacks and school supplies at Castle Park Middle School. For more information, please contact SBCS at (619) 420-3620.
Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood is coordinated by South Bay Community Services and is proud to partner with Castle Park Elementary, Castle Park Middle, Castle Park High School, Hilltop Middle and Hilltop High School to bring new opportunities and pathways of success for their students and families. For more information, please visit CVPromise.org or call (619) 422-5005.