Knock out "Summer Setback"

During the long summer break, low-income elementary school children are more apt to experience learning shortfalls due to the lack of access to stimulating activities. The cumulative effect of losing ground each summer can result in a two year grade loss by the time a student reaches high school. The Westerly Public Schools Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative (HSLI), with funding from Opening Doors for Westerly’s Children (ODWC), is a program with activities designed to prevent “summer setback.”

The HSLI’s 6-week, full-day summer curriculum centers around hands-on applied learning, from the arts to science and technology. The children spend their time learning and growing through reading, arts and crafts, gardening and photography classes to stimulate their natural curiosity.

Plus, there are fun, fantastic field trips weekly, to the Westerly Public Library, local museums, parks, nearby theaters, and local shore attractions. Every activity is intended to engage their young minds and keep them excited about learning through the summer months. The summer program is based at the Tower Street School Community Center where classes are held indoors and out.

A primary mission of ODWC is to reach the low-income youth of Westerly. Currently, up to 75 Westerly students are enrolled in the program and each year enrollment goes up. And every year around 60% of the enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. In order for more children to benefit from the program, ODWC offers an important scholarship program. Donors may contribute to the scholarship fund at the $1000 or $500 level. To date, through generous individuals and foundations, including The Forrest and Frances Lattner Foundation, ODWC has awarded $65,000 in summer learning assistance.

Does the Opening Door’s collaboration with the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative work?

The proof is in the stats. In 2016, children realized a 46% improvement in math and a 45% improvement in literacy. The Hasbro formula encourages children to love reading, absorb their lessons and learn to solve problems.

The students return to school ready to step right in to their grade-level curriculum of math, reading and problem-solving.  There’s no “set back” to this fulfilling summer program! Say “Yes!” and donate to the ODWC scholarship fund.