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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor Celebrates National Summer Learning Day
Keeping Kids Learning, Healthy, and Safe this Summer

July 14, 2016 – Benton Harbor, MI – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor, in partnership with the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), are highlighting the importance of summer learning opportunities today at both the Fettig Youth Campus (600 Nate Wells Sr. Drive, Benton Harbor, Michigan) and the Joel E. Smilow Teen Center (190 West Empire Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan).

National Summer Learning Day is an advocacy day led by NSLA to elevate the importance of keeping kids learning, safe, and healthy every summer. In addition to Summer Learning Day, NSLA is partnering with the White House for the Summer Opportunity Project, an unprecedented multi-agency initiative designed to give young people access to their ‘First Job,’ and encourage investment in programs supporting summer learning and meals for America’s young people in the summer.

At the Fettig Youth Campus, Club members between the ages of 9–14 will participate in career mapping, an activity to research career options and the educational requirements needed to pursue those careers. Through a partnership with Junior Achievement and Pearson Construction, a field trip for the 12–14 year olds will expose youth to job opportunities in the construction industry. On July 29, the 9–11 year old members will be hosted by Lakeland Hospital to learn more about job opportunities within the healthcare industry.

Nearly 20 teen center members took a tour of Southwest Michigan College yesterday as part of the program week. Teens were given full tours of the campus where they learned about admission standards and requirements while sampling student life. This tour is part of a summer series that help high school freshmen and sophomores begin planning for post-secondary education options at colleges and universities in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana.

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 low- and high-income kids. An NSLA survey indicated that two-thirds of teachers report spending at least one month re-teaching students old material when they return from summer vacation.

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. Research also shows that children gain weight twice as fast over the summer compared to during the school year. Moreover, a lack of opportunity for meaningful mentorship and work experience prevents many older youth from successfully completing high school and entering post-secondary education or careers. 

“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. Families play a critical role in nurturing a joy of learning at home with their kids.” 

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 afterschool and summer programs promoting educational and career development, character and leadership development, and healthy lifestyles for over 1,700 children and teens at the Fettig Youth Campus and Joel E. Smilow Teen Center. Learn more at www.bgcbh.org. 

About the National Summer Learning Association
NSLA is encouraging communities to put their events and programs on an interactive map at www.SummerLearning.org so that families can find summer learning opportunities in their community. 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 summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education. For more information, visit www.summerlearning.org. 

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