Summer is a time of fun, leisure reading, and out-of-school educational experiences for many kids. It is also a time when many kids without access to books and summer learning programs lose much of what they learned during the school year in what is referred to as summer learning loss. The children most at risk for summer learning loss belong to low income families.
The plight of low income families is something with which Homeport is very familiar. As a nonprofit provider of affordable homes in Central Ohio, Homeport has 2,500 kids living in its housing communities and witnesses the profound impact summer learning loss has not only on educational success, but on a child’s self-esteem, emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
This problem of summer learning loss exists across low income neighborhoods and communities throughout the country, so Homeport looked to see what was working in other places. We studied national research and data, sought the advice of our community leaders, teachers, and other nonprofits in the affordable housing community and asked them and ourselves: How do we help our children succeed? What are the practical steps?
What seems to be working for others, and for us, is to get creative and to take a collaborative approach. Create a program to provide books to children, and collaborate with other dedicated organizations to provide summer and out-of-school programs to children in need.
We recently created the Bright Idea Book Bank, an initiative to gather and provide books to kids year round, as well as distribute backpacks with school supplies to children at the start of the school year. Homeport has newly collaborated with the Boys & Girls Club of Columbus and Columbus Area Integrated Health Services to provide our children with summer learning programs, educational activities, and access to healthcare.
These are great first steps, and we have a long way to go in providing these vital services and programs to the children in our communities. We invite you to join with us to help us bring educational resources and programs to many more of our kids.