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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

Contact: Kimberly McCoy
Director of Resource Development & Marketing 
Business: 269.926.8766
Direct: 269.363.4808
E-Mail: kmccoy@bgcbh.org

Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor Will Celebrate the Importance of Summer Learning During the Summer Brain Gain Celebration on July 29

Event Marking National Summer Learning Day 2015 Will Be One of Hundreds Across the Nation Aimed at Keeping Kids Learning, Healthy and Safe this Summer

Benton Harbor, MI –The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor, in partnership with the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), will highlight the importance of summer learning opportunities at the Summer Brain Gain Celebration on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 with activities for children and teen members, as well as the community. 

The event is part of National Summer Learning Day, a national advocacy day led by NSLA to elevate the importance of keeping kids learning, safe, and healthy every summer. This year, NSLA is encouraging everyone—providers, families and businesses—to take the pledge at SummerLearningDay.org to keep kids learning and healthy this summer so they can thrive in the school year ahead. 

As a part of the local Summer Brain Gain Celebration, the Clubs will hold a Community Health Fair at the Fettig Youth Campus at 600 Nate Wells Senior Drive, Benton Harbor. The health fair is open to the public from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Participants will have the opportunity to visit various booths where they will learn about healthy lifestyles and general safety. 

Members at the Fettig Youth Campus will also take part in the Summer Literacy program which is dedicated to improving individual grade reading performance. Teens at the Joel E. Smilow Teen Center, 190 West Empire Avenue, will tour area college campuses as a part of Diplomas to Degrees, a college readiness program preparing members for post-secondary education and career success. Guests are welcome to tour both campuses from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“The National Summer Learning Day is a reminder of how important it is to keep our members learning over the summer,” said Brian Saxton, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor. “For more than a decade the Clubs have offered a summer literacy program focused on improving grade reading performance. This year, we enhanced summer programming with fun, interactive themes to engage members and avoid the typical learning loss that occurs during the summer break.” Saxton continued, “By providing a great Club Experience, we ensure our members have a safe, healthy, learning summer, building new academic, character, and social skills that help them fully prepare to return to school this fall.”

Research shows that summers without quality learning opportunities put our nation’s youth at risk for falling behind – year after year – in core subjects like math and reading. The math and reading skills that low-income students lose each summer are cumulative and contribute significantly to the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income kids. 

Low-income youth also lose access to healthy meals over the summer. Six out of every seven students who receive free- and reduced-price lunches lose access to them when school lets out. And, research shows that children gain weight twice as fast over the summer compared to during the school year. Each day, the Clubs serve meals and snack to members. 

“Many kinds of high-quality learning opportunities during the summer can make a difference in keeping young people on track for success,” said Sarah Pitcock, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association. “These opportunities can be found in schools and community organizations, including local libraries and museums, and in businesses, colleges and community colleges. Even families can be empowered to provide high-quality summer learning to their kids at home.” 

ABOUT THE BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF BENTON HARBOR
Located at 600 Nate Wells Senior Drive, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor has served the youth of Benton Harbor since 1999. The Club provides after-school and summer programs promoting educational and career development, character and leadership development, and healthy lifestyles for over 2,000 children and teens at the Fettig Youth Campus and Joel E. Smilow Teen Center. Learn more at www.bgch.org. 

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SUMMER LEARNING ASSOCIATION
The National Summer Learning Association is the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing access to high-quality summer learning opportunities. NSLA recognizes and disseminates what works, offers expertise and support for programs and communities, and advocates for summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education. For more information, visit www.summerlearning.org. 

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