The next time you open a web browser on your phone or computer, try this experiment: type “Summer Learning Loss” into the search box. In about one second, millions of articles, stories, videos, and images will show up in your results. Over the past few years, much has been written about the impact that summer learning loss has on students…and, especially on students from low-income households. Research has shown that whatever gains students may make over the school year, students from low-income households lose their advantages over the summer, when they have less access to important resources to help them practice and hone their skills.

Here at Stewpot’s Summer Camp, we understand the critical need for quality summer programming for the kids and teenagers in our care. For the past 25 years, we have offered a safe and nurturing place for at-risk kids to spend their summer days. We have intentionally made it a fun place to escape from the stresses of their lives. But, as our understanding of the unique challenges faced by our kids has deepened, we have also evolved to help combat the “summer slide” as well.

For example, last summer our teenagers studied biomes. After learning about biomes from retired science teacher Ms. Derrick (who is also a very faithful volunteer), each teen built a biome using milk cartons, sand, seeds and other materials; these projects stayed on display throughout summer camp. The teenagers followed this activity with field research at the Jackson Zoo, where they identified animals from each biome. Finally, they wrapped up the unit by teaching our K-5th graders kids what they had learned.shaping-the-future-together-e1377591568422

Meanwhile, the K-5th graders were focused on summer reading. Using strong curriculum provided by Mississippi Public Broadcasting and Jackson Public Schools, the kids read through their entire summer reading lists! While the first graders were reading Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse and making plastic purses and wallets, the second graders were reading Officer Buckle and Gloria and writing about the heroes in their lives. Through journaling, skits, crafts and word walls, they spent some time every week reading, learning and growing.

Of course, we are still doing our best to make sure every child feels loved and respected here. We have a long history of assuring our kids and teens that they matter, and that their gifts, skills, opinions, thoughts, and actions are important to us…and to the world.  That means we give lots of time, attention, and hugs; we play and dream; we hang out and listen. But we are also making sure that our kids and teens have the tools they need to be successful when school begins again in August.

Most of our Summer Campers come from families who cannot afford to pay for it; and we do not want money to keep any child from spending the summer learning and growing with us.  Because we rely heavily on volunteers and donations, we are able to keep the average cost of six weeks of camp to only $375 per camperWould you consider sponsoring one (or more!) of the 130 kids and teens who want to attend Stewpot’s Summer Camp this year?  When you give to help support Summer Camp, you are supporting learning, growth, safety and community for some of the kids in our city who need it most. And we cannot do it without you.

Again, please consider what you can give to help kids our kids stay safe and stay ahead. Your support could be an important piece of the puzzle that helps change their lives.

In it together,

Your support could change lives.

Donations can be mailed to Stewpot Community Services, P. O. Box 3691, Jackson, MS 39207. Make a note on your check on the memo line Summer Camp 2017. Or for your convenience, make your donation through our online Giving Grid