Lack of summer programs can put kids behind

May 6, 2011 7:07:04 PM PDT
With summer almost here, a lot of Bay Area kids are looking forward to going off to camp. But a lot of low-income youngsters simply do not have that opportunity. And a new report says that lack of access is putting them even further behind in school.

Summer enrichment camps are meant to help keep kids engaged in academics and sports but not every parent can afford them. The non-profit education advocacy group Partnership for Children and Youth found the majority of low-income youths in California do not attend a summer school or program.

"The summer learning loss is also having an enormous effect on the achievement gap between lower and middle income students," group spokesperson Jennifer Peck said.

The report also points out that a good number of kids who live in the inner cities are taking care of themselves without any adult supervision while both parents work.

"Spending a lot of time in front of the television, in front of the TV or playing video games and not only is it affecting their academic achievement, it's affecting their health," Peck said.

But the Oakland School Police Department wants to change that. This summer they will provide a free summer camp for nearby kids in West Oakland.

This weekend 600 volunteers helped build sand boxes, painted the courts and helped clean up the park owned by the city of Oakland.

"We'll have sports; we'll add a little education twist to it so that they won't get far behind over the summer," Sgt. Michael Anderson said.

The school district donated this portable which will serve as a club house and library. Breakfast and lunch are also free.

The money to build the facility was donated by local and national non-profits, along with the Oakland School Police Department.

Across town in East Oakland, Youth Uprising is providing enrichment programs for teens and helping them find jobs over the summer.

"Kids are constantly saying they want activities, jobs, programs," Youth Uprising spokesperson Jacky Johnson said. "Its' important to give young people some focus so they feel they are part of something."

The challenge for many non-profits is to try to find funds to expand summer learning programs in these tough economic times.

Load Comments