Summer Adventures Prepare Students for School Year

August 13, 2015

Children who participated in the YWCA Central Alabama’s Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) program were faced with a dilemma during these first few days of the new school year. When asked how they spent their summer vacation, they had a hard time narrowing down their answers.
 
That’s because the students, who live in area homeless shelters and transitional housing programs, got to experience a little bit of everything. They swam, picked fresh fruits and vegetables, enjoyed dance and art classes, explored a cave and polished their reading and math skills through lots of fun, educational activities. They capped off the summer with a trip to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.
 
“It was the perfect ending to an amazing summer,” Delyne Hicks, director of child development services for the YWCA, said of the trip. “Many of our children are so limited in their travel, and a lot have barely been out of a six- to eight-block radius. Being able to take them to Huntsville and show them how Alabama is such an important part of the space program gave me chills.”
 
The SAIL program is designed to combat summer learning loss. While all students lose some skills over the summer break, studies have shown that children of low-income families, who may already struggle in school, are affected the most. Being able to participate in educational and enrichment activities greatly reduces the impact, and that was evident this summer. Instead of getting behind, students in the YWCA’s program actually made strides in reading and math.
 
The summer program at the YWCA was funded by United Way of Central Alabama, the Joseph S. Bruno Charitable Foundation, Alabama Power Foundation, the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation, The Daniel Foundation of Alabama and the Junior League of Birmingham. In addition, community partner McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc. helped make extra enrichment activities possible.
 
“We are so grateful to all of the funders and supporters for making this fabulous summer possible for our children,” Hicks said. “Our summer program has always been a wonderful experience, but this allowed us to take it to another level. Our program is the cake, and they provided the icing. A piece of cake is good, but with the icing, it’s oh so yummy!”
 
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