Hearing the words “Summer break” conjures up images of sun-drenched days, the pool, vacations and lots of free time. But, for many children, summer isn’t all fun and games.
It’s also a time when they can lose up to two months of academic gains made during the previous school year. Called the “summer slide,” this phenomenon hits particularly hard for students at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale. Predominantly living in ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households, they may not have access to reading and learning materials when not in school, putting them at increased risk for losing knowledge and falling behind.
That’s where United Way Suncoast comes in. Across our region, we invest in programs and partnerships that keep students learning, growing and thriving throughout the summer. Programs like:
- Summer Care Initiative (Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties)
- Partnered with 10 community organizations to support 20 summer learning camps
- Funded 525 scholarships for children to attend a quality camp
- Provided 2,386 summer bridge books for children to help prevent summer learning loss
- Funded literacy tutors for children not reading at grade level
- Promoted the Reading with the Rays program
- Reading Room at La Mirada (Manatee County)
- Hosted a six-week summer reading camp for 19 rising pre-K to 3rd graders
- Students collectively read 525 books
- Provided enrichment and educational activities including visitors from MOTE Marine, Bishop Museum & Planetarium, Manatee County Libraries and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office
- Served as a Summer Breakspot providing free lunches daily
- Panther Prep (DeSoto)
- Funded a six-week intensive program for recent high school graduates
- Students completed 6 credits of college coursework and learned soft skills for navigating college and careers.
- Partnered with Truist Bank to provide financial education on safe banking, credit and debt, and living on a college budget.
Area students are better prepared for academic success this school year thanks to the educational supports they receive from United Way and our strategic community partners. By helping students reach their full potential, these investments will pay dividends for years to come.