A female student completing the math portion of the booklet provided to all students.

By Sydney Burken

The summer slide is not a fun slide. Many students struggle when summer comes to an end and school starts back up. To help prevent this, United Way Suncoast teamed up with the Carey Family Brandon Boys & Girls Club to keep students connected with the core subjects during their summer break. Currently in its 12th year, United Way Suncoast initiated its Summer Care program to add an educational component to summer camps in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee counties to stop the summer slide.

The United Way Suncoast Summer Care program was created to negate the learning regression that can occur when students are out of school on breaks. It has provided nearly $500,000 in scholarships for students to attend summer camps at one of 10 partner sites in the three counties previously mentioned.

These scholarships include programs at six different Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay sites in Hillsborough, including Brandon, Riverview and Wimauma. The scholarships being offered cover not only the costs of Bridge Books at levels pre-K through eighth grade but also the costs of any T-shirts and field trips. Funding is also provided for students that need a tutor in any subject.

The United Way Suncoast Summer Care program’s goal is to offer resources and tutoring for students that tend to get down in the dumps when school is out of session. Last year, it was recorded that 78 percent of the students in Summer Care maintained or improved their reading level.

“Having this fun, low-pressure time and setting to provide students with literacy support allows them to enhance their reading skills. We have had many children over the years who started summer below level and through summer reading gains returned to school in the fall a stronger, more confident reader on level with their peers,” said Nicole Brown, director of early learning and community partnerships for United Way Suncoast.

For more information on the United Way Suncoast Summer Care program and what is offered, please visit www.bgctampa.org, email info@bgctampa.org or call 813-875-5771.

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