One of LACF’s unique roles is to bring groups together to solve systemic issues facing youth in our community. LACF grants fuel collaboration between local nonprofits, school districts, and other community organizations to help close the achievement gap - and give all kids and teens the ability to thrive in our community.
The following is an example of how this approach provides at-risk youth access to summertime academic and social enrichment activities to help bring success to these students throughout the year.
A coalition of community nonprofits, school administrators, police officers, and health professionals, MVLA Challenge Team meets monthly to focus on the challenges faced by underserved, at-risk youth. At their June 2015 meeting, representatives from local nonprofit, ALearn, and local schools districts realized they shared a similar problem - many unfilled seats for their academic summer programs.
With just two weeks to go before summer, middle school and high school students who had fallen behind or were failing during the school year were not signed up to get the academic “boost” that they needed. Without support, how could they keep up with their peers and grade level standards when school re-convened in August?
The Challenge Team decided to address this issue and with the help of an LACF grant, the Summer Learning Initiative was launched.
Action items were identified including an earlier definition of summer classes, program and schedule coordination with local nonprofits, and better communication at each school to get the word out to English learner families.
These actions were successful – the following summer the districts and nonprofits reported that they had filled all their available seats, even adding more to meet the demand!
Excited with the results, SLI groups convened again to address an additional issue - parents reluctant to enroll their children in a morning summer school program because of no daycare in the afternoon.
The Challenge Team worked with local recreation and teen centers to provide students with transportation to fun athletic and social afternoon programs, keeping them safe and engaged throughout the day.
Through this ongoing collaboration with LACF, local schools, and nonprofits, the Summer Learning Initiative continues to grow in scope and purpose. Thanks to your support, we are working together to close the achievement gap for underserved youth and giving them a better today – and tomorrow!