Authored by: Danielle Latta, Afterschool Program Manager
Across the nation there is a lot of talk going on around “The Summer Slide” and “The Learning Gap”. Do you know what this really means? For more than 25 million low-income public school students, summer is often anything but a vacation and is often a time when children and their families struggle to find and afford food to eat and a safe place to be. According to the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), every summer, low-income youth lose two to three months in reading while their high-income peers make slight gains. Research shows that while gaps in student’s achievement remain relatively constant during the school year, they usually widen significantly during the summer.
Youth Services has risen to meet the needs of communities in Salt Lake County to ensure that youth have access to high quality summer programs. At our four sites, youth come to learn, explore and play throughout the summer in a safe, supervised and structured environment. Our staff act as a role model and with their listening ears and open hearts, are building meaningful relationships with the youth. Meals are served through our partnerships with Granite School District and Utah Food Bank. Learning is happening throughout the day doing community service, daily reading and field trips.
This is all possible because of our caring staff, administration and partners. Financially, the programs are supported through Utah State Office of Education, Department of Workforce Services Office of Childcare, United Way and Salt Lake County. Space is donated through Granite School District, Magna Library and Magna Senior Center. Volunteers of America and Aspen Ridge Counseling have brought in excellent prevention curriculums at no cost. These efforts could not happen without the collaboration of many, and we are so grateful for the support we are given in so many ways.
Summer Learning Day on July 13th, is celebrated throughout the nation which brings awareness and advocacy to ensuring that all children have access to high-quality summer learning experiences to help.