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Community Impact: Summer (FUN) School

Many students anticipate the last day of school as a signal for freedom from studying over the summer. However, to succeed in school – and in life – children and young adults need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills. When schools close for the summer, many children are unable to access educational opportunities, as well as basic needs such as healthy meals and adult supervision. Finding affordable, accessible summer care for children can be challenging for parents too.

At its April meeting, the Jackson EMC Foundation granted $15,000 to help support a summer camp in Gwinnett County, delivered through Exodus Outreach, Inc., to serve children who would otherwise be home alone during the summer school vacation. The funds will be used to provide meals to the children and to fund certified teachers.

Studies from the National Summer Learning Association report over the summer, students can lose about two months of grade-level math and reading competency.

To address the need for affordable, accessible and educational summer care for children in Gwinnett County, Exodus Outreach began delivering a summer program in 2006.

“The program is specifically designed to provide supervision to students who would otherwise be at home alone,” Dr. Kary E. Harris, Founder and CEO of Exodus Outreach, wrote in her grant application. “The main goal of the camp is to keep the students safe and provide a quality program that includes developmentally appropriate curriculum, healthy meals, field trips, guest speakers, physical education activities and mentors.”

The program is offered to parents free of charge. Students in kindergarten through rising eighth graders are selected based on need and available space.