Program Spotlight Jul 17

Summer Alliance  Program Spotlight: The Summer Impact Program

Summer programs offer our children and teens a chance to learn, play, be active, explore and discover. It is a time when they can try new things, develop and expand on skills they already have, and can grow and gain more independence. The Benton Harbor Summer Impact program is a safe option for youth to get engaged in the community through education and physical activity, with good nutrition tied in.

The Benton Harbor Summer Impact launched in June and runs through mid-August. It is an effort focused on local children and teens, to bring new programming to Broadway, Hull, and Union Parks in Benton Harbor. 

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor collaborated with Benton Harbor Area Schools, Benton Harbor Area Schools 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, the Berrien Community Foundation, Mosaic Christian Community Development Association, Overflow Church, Southwest Michigan Young Life, and the YMCA of Southwest Michigan.  
The collaboration pools resources and uses strengths of each organization to provide workforce and leadership training, activity programming, teen employment and supervision, transportation and funding to support the general efforts. The Club is providing about 100 meals a night as part of the Meet up, Eat up summer food program.

 “Collaborating with a variety of agencies to benefit the youth of Benton Harbor has been an amazing experience,” said Rita Seay, employee of Benton Harbor Area Schools. “It expands on the concept of a village raising children. In this case we have agencies that combine their respective areas of expertise to provide holistic programming for our youth.”

Combining learning how be a good employee, employment opportunities for teens, nutritious meals from the Boys & Girls Clubs, and fun physical activity from the YMCA of Southwest Michigan in the evening is a sure-fire combination to keep kids happy and healthy during the summer months.
The program is funded through the generous donors of the Berrien Community Foundation, the Benton Harbor Area Schools’ Public Safety/Gang Prevention Grant, and the Benton Harbor 21st Century Program, and Overflow Church. Lisa Cripps-Downey, President of Berrien Community Foundation, has been part of the planning stages and sees the potential of the collaboration. 
“These agencies worked together to make everything happen,” Cripps-Downey said. “From morning at school to afternoons at the Boys & Girls Clubs, to evenings in the park, kids will have a place to be actively engaged all summer long. I hope that translates into a decrease in the “summer slump” as they go into the next school year.”
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