While some might think of summer as a time to slack off and hit the beach it’s actually a critical time for improving academic outcomes for kids. Unfortunately, some kids don’t have access to the same recreational resources of their peers like camps or sports leagues, and for them summer is anything but a time of joy. Each year the New York Life Foundation honors the nationwide summer learning programs that go above and beyond in giving all kids access to education, activities, and guidance to lead them toward future successes. “We congratulate the winners of the New York Life Foundation’s Excellence in Summer Learning Award. Out-of-School Time programs are critical to providing learning opportunities to help prevent summer learning loss. These award-winning programs exemplify the best in high-quality and innovative programming that help children realize their full potential both academically and socially,” said Marlyn Torres, senior program officer, New York Life Foundation.
"These award-winning programs exemplify the best in high-quality and innovative programming that help children realize their full potential both academically and socially” - Marlyn Torres, senior program officer, New York Life Foundation.
The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) has announced four exceptional summer programs as winners of the coveted 2019 New York Life Foundation’s Excellence in Summer Learning Award:
· The Andy Roddick Foundation, Austin, Texas
This summer program thoughtfully integrates captivating themes across its academic and enrichment activities, like a Superhero summer theme overlaying educational lessons on bats and echolocation. The program encourages respectful conversation and learning, and conducts deep family engagement activities to keep children learning even when they are home.
· ESLAsC Reads Across National Parks, Columbus, Ohio
This program is rooted in community and stands apart for its engagement with ESL (English as a Second Language) learners. The program incorporates inclusive and innovate methods to engage the youth it serves, such as having them pick the theme for the summer and building contextual learning opportunities centered around the theme. Students build social skills and are introduced to a number of first cultural experiences like going to the movies and roller skating. It helps children see their future potential and is a testament to the possibility of effective summer programming when a community, its schools and its university band together.
· MERIT Health Leadership Academy, Baltimore, Maryland
MERIT’s razor-sharp focus of supporting high school students interested in careers in health and its rich partnership with John Hopkins School of Medicine and School of Nursing sets the standard in summer STEM programming. Students in the program work in paid hospital and lab internships, take advanced classes, and receive college and career guidance. With its continued nurturing of a diverse group of students, the program stays true to its mission of reducing health disparities by changing the face of health care and making the profession more inclusive and representative.
· Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, Boston, Massachusetts
This program serves as a national model of a high-quality summer learning program and showcases the potential of a private-public partnership. The Outward Bound program takes the novel approach of using the city of Boston’s natural and local resources to provide academic and social enrichment activities for underserved students. It teaches students how to forge friendships, build connections and keep growing and learning through the year.
“This award along with the check that came with it gave us incredible momentum to continue motivating kids and keeping them curious about their world.” - Robin Berlinsky, Executive Director of 2016’s award winning program “Engaging Creative Minds”
In a recent blogpost, Robin Berlinsky, head of one of 2016’s award winners, “Engaging Creative Minds”, describes the spoils of winning this award and grant. “Receiving this (grant) in addition to the award allowed us to boost our creative energy by purchasing program materials that make our camp unique but are not always "allowed" in the more traditional grants…This award along with the check that came with it gave us incredible momentum to continue motivating kids and keeping them curious about their world.”
Go back to our newsroom to read more stories.