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

SUMMER CARE

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 ALICE 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, children from ALICE households 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.

SUMMER CARE’S GOALS

  1. To address summer learning loss disparities of children from ALICE households
  2. To provide free, enriching summer camps/childcare during the summer for ALICE 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.

In the summer of 2023, United Way Suncoast invested $450,000 into 14 partner programs, providing 658 scholarships to attend 25 summer camp programs.

2,218 bridge books were provided to UWS supported camps and 88% of students with a pre/post assessment maintained or grew their academic abilities.

Students spent a collective 23,920 hours working in Bridge Books, and an additional 6,816 hours working with tutors.

185 children received the support of a tutor during the summer with 87% of students with a pre/post assessment increasing their literacy skills and 97% maintaining or growing over the summer.

422 parents or guardians accessed financial education resources.

Young boy writing in a study book at a recent Summer Care program.
Young girl writing in study materials at Summer Care.

Education

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Smiling young girl proudly holds a book in a classroom.

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