Based on the Y’s longstanding success in helping kids thrive – both in and out of school – we recently received two prestigious grants to launch summer reading programs for at-risk students at McCoy Elementary and Union Park Middle School.
Created in partnership with YUSA and BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), the McCoy Elementary program will provide 6.5 hours per day of academic support in reading, math and enrichment, all led by certified teachers.
The Y of Central Florida is one of only three Ys nationwide to receive funding for the intensive pilot, which is due to become a national model based on its success in boosting students’ reading scores by up to six months.
At Union Park Middle School, the Y is also launching the Out of School Time Reading Program funded through a $55,000 grant from the Chase Foundation. Developed in conjunction with Orange County Public Schools curriculum standards, the program will engage kids through technology – in the form of Apple I-pads – which they’ll use to research and read about current events.
As with all Y Youth Development programs, Matthews said both pilots will emphasize values, reading, wellness and alleviating family stress. They’ll also include at least one hour of physical activity to help kids stay fit and able to maintain a healthy weight.
“Common sense and research tell us that children absolutely benefit from additional hours of summer reading and learning, but it’s not typically something schools or parents can provide,” said Matthews. “That’s where the Y comes in. By filling gaps in education and keeping kids safe and active during out-of-school time, we’re setting the stage for future success. And that strengthens our kids, families and entire community.”