Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Keith Blanchard, Chief Professional Officer
Freddy Williams, Area Director
Neal Gillespie, NW Campus Director
Natalya Banister, Woodland Park Campus Director
Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County
P.O. Box 358452
Gainesville, FL 358452
(352)-328-0995 or (352)-372-5342 administrative Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2012
As Local Students End the School Year, Boys & Girls Clubs of Alachua County Offers a Place to Fight “Summer Brain Drain
” Parents Can Use BGC and the United Way to Make Out-Of-School-Time More Productive for Kids!
This month, thousands of Alachua County kids begin their summer breaks, looking forward to vacations, pool time and carefree days. But research and experience show a lack of mental stimulation results in children unlearning much of what they were taught during the school year. The Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County offers young people a safe, fun learning place to spend their summer months, with staff and resources to fight the effects of this “Summer Brain Drain.” The reality for today’s kids, especially in this tough economic climate, is many will be left on their own with few structured activities. And with parents and guardians working more than one job to make ends meet, they simply have too much unsupervised television, video game and computer time.
President Barrack Obama Touts Concerns Over Summer Learning Also known as “summer learning loss” or the “summer slide,” this issue is a growing problem for American children. President Barrack Obama has noted, “Students are losing a lot of what they learn during the school year during the summer.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County
has teamed up with the United Way of North Central Florida
to promote summer reading. “Summer Brain Drain" is a seasonal issue that causes millions of young people to lose months of accumulated knowledge,” says Keith Blanchard, President and CPO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Alachua County (www.myboysandgirlsclub.com). “While the months without daily lessons are part of the problem, another contributing factor is that many young people are left alone for much of the summer, with little or no supervision to intellectually challenge them and constructively exercise their energies. It’s critical to find creative ways to combat learning loss. We are thrilled to team up with the United Way to promote summer reading.”
By the Numbers:
Affect on Low-Income Households The negative impact of Summer Brain Drain is especially harsh among young people from low-income households as it only exacerbates the myriad challenges and frustrations they experience. Faced with difficult home situations, many young people accept lower standards of academic achievement, reducing their aspirations for higher education.
But summer learning loss can strike kids from any demographic:
* When students report to school in the fall, they perform on average one month behind where they left off in the spring; the effect is more pronounced for the most at-risk students, who may lose several months.(1)
* More than 15 million U.S. children are alone and unsupervised after school throughout the year, and those numbers jump over the summer.(2)
* Summer learning loss is cumulative, with the effects growing worse each year the child is in school.(1)
* Low-income students are affected disproportionately; summer learning loss contributes substantially to their widening achievement gap.(1)
Benefits of Quality Summer Learning Programs
* Summer learning programs have been shown to raise math and reading performance, increase attendance, reduce dropout rates, decrease involvement in crime, improve behavior at school and heighten interest in learning.
* Studies show the positive effects of summer learning programs last two years.
* Summer learning programs increase parental involvement, which is critical to a child’s overall academic success.
“Parents and guardians can stop or slow this learning loss with a positive summer learning program,” said Freddy Williams, Area Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County. “Many school districts have been forced to cut summer learning programs because of tight budgets, but there is much that parents can do and partnerships between school districts and community-based organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs can provide excellent resources.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Alachua County Summer Programs Parents and students can take advantage of summer programs at the Northwest and Woodland Park Boys & Girls Clubs.
They offer a number of engaging activities to:
* Build one-on-one tutoring relationships with Boys & Girls staff.
* Participate in the United Way of North Central Florida’s ReadingPals program. ? Create collaborative projects where young people work together to complete a project.
* Engage in high-yield learning activities, including games that use cognitive skills, writing activities, creating short plays, skits or musical pieces, or reading.
* Create projects that involve parents.
Summer Tips for Parents
* READ! Encourage your child to read newspapers, magazines, books, comics, the Internet. • Get a copy of the summer reading list for your child’s grade level from school.
* Read news articles aloud together and then discuss what you have read. Encourage your child to speak out on local issues that are important to him. For example, have them write a letter to the editor of the newspaper or to a government official.
* Have your child teach you something that she knows how to do, like set up a page on a social networking site or send a text message on your phone.
* Keep a regular routine. Though summer should be more relaxed, young people still need some structure to guide their days and keep them sleeping well and eating right.
* Do good deeds. Encourage your child to serve others in your community by doing yard work for an elderly neighbor, visiting a nursing home or hospital, donating toys or working at a food bank or animal shelter.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, nearly 4,000 Clubs serve some 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country. Children and families of the U.S. Armed Services receive Club programs and support through BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers located on U.S. military installations worldwide. Clubs provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Alachua County
The Boys & Girls Club has served the youth of Alachua County since 1949. The Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County provides programs to thousands of local boys and girls in the areas of character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, and sports and recreation. Contact Freddy Williams at (352)-328-0995 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
# # #
1 Afterschool Alliance
2 Rand Education Report, 2011