For many Connecticut children, summer is a time of boredom, stagnation, and inactivity. Such obstacles as a lack of opportunity and resources means a lost opportunity for a young person to maintain and build on the learning they received during the school year.
Fortunately, more than 8,000 school-age youth in Greater Hartford will be participating in summer learning programs thanks to $810,250 in grants from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. The grants will support 56 programs, operated by 45 agencies, including 34 reduced fee camperships as well as enrichment, tutorial and counselor-in-training programs. Many of these opportunities run between four and eight weeks with shorter sessions available. The Hartford Foundation targets summer program funding to support the participation of youth from Hartford and East Hartford and those with disabilities from throughout the Greater Hartford region, most with free or at reduced rates.
While offering parents a safe, affordable option for their children, the programs also support summer learning in a variety of ways. By promoting reading, writing and other learning activities, programs supported by the Foundation are designed to help prevent summer learning loss by helping students retain and build on skills gained during the school year as well as to grow developmentally. Programs engage students in activities designed to build self-confidence, character, critical thinking, and community in ways that youth find interesting and fun. Foundation funding supports organizations to target underserved populations, particularly Hartford and East Hartford youth and people with disabilities across the region. Partnerships with the 4-H Center at Auerfarm, Connecticut Science Center, Hartford Public Library, and Goodwin College, have made additional enrichment options accessible to programs.
A directory of the programs, produced by the Hartford Foundation and Hartford Public Schools, can be found at Hartford schools and local libraries and community centers. The directory, which is produced in English and Spanish, is also available for download at www.hfpg.org/summer.
The Hartford Foundation has a long history of supporting summer programs with grants dating back to the 1930s. Over $5 million has been awarded for these programs just in the last six years.
“In addition to preventing summer learning loss, the experiences young people have in these summer programs impact them deeply contributing to both their social and academic development, key components to reducing the education achievement gap,” said Hartford Foundation Senior Education Investments Officer Jacqueline Coleman “Our funding enables access to these programs for many students from low-income families. Many programs are linked to school-year or summer school, which provide continuity by offering learning opportunities throughout the year. Our funding also focuses on enhancing literacy efforts by increasing access to age-appropriate books and integrating use of local libraries and educational field trips to reinforce the skills being developed in the programs.”
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, established in 1925, is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. It is dedicated to putting philanthropy into action to create lasting solutions that result in vibrant communities within the Greater Hartford region. The Foundation’s grantmaking is made possible through generous gifts from individuals, families, and organizations. It has awarded grants of $758 million since its founding. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.