Children and education, young woman at work as educator reading book to boys and girls in park


High quality summer camps and educational supports for children.
Financial education for caregivers.

Summer, when children are away from school, is a particularly vulnerable time for our children’s education. Many children, especially those living in low-income families, lose the equivalent of two months of reading skills during the summer. Over time, this learning loss is compounded so that by the end of elementary school, they may be more than two years behind their peers in reading. Two-thirds of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income children are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college.
Children who are involved in quality summer programs, have access to books, and are supported with appropriate reading instruction can maintain the skills acquired during the school year. That is why providing academic opportunities for low-income children is a part of United Way’s innovative Summer Care program.

Summer Care began in 2005 to assist low-income, working families with childcare. The program has evolved over time to its current form — impacting both adult financial stability and youth education goals. Children attend one of our carefully selected summer camps in Hillsborough or Pinellas counties.


  1. To address summer learning loss disparities of low-income children
  2. To provide free, enriching summer camps/childcare during the summer for low-income families
  3. To provide reading support during the summer camps/childcare
  4. To provide financial education to the parents

Every child at participating summer camps receive a Summer Bridge Activity book. This award-winning curriculum is designed to reinforce basic skills and prepare children for their next school year.

This past summer, UWS partnered with 25 sites across Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

  • More than 2,200 children received daily academic activities with the Summer Bridge Book curriculum. Across all grades and sites, scores on the pre and post-tests showed that 83% of students maintained or grew their academic skills.
  • 692 children received scholarships to high-quality summer programs.
  • All caregivers involved with Summer Care were invited to participate in financial education classes.
Young boy writing in a study book at a recent Summer Care program.
Young girl writing in study materials at Summer Care.


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Smiling young girl proudly holds a book in a classroom.

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