YMCA helps prevent academic ‘summer slide’ with Power Scholars Academy

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Power Scholars student learns math and literacy skills. Courtesy Photo

MANCHESTER, NH — Over the last three years, The Granite YMCA has worked in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester and the Manchester School District to deliver the Power Scholars Academy, a program to help mitigate summer learning loss, to inner-city students.

Last summer, more 132 Manchester area students in Grades 7 – 9 attended Power Scholars Academy and achieved 92 percent student daily attendance and averaged 3-6-month gains in both reading and math proficiency. Students who take part in the program are called scholars.

Charitable contributions have funded this free, six-week summer program, including support from Granite United Way, Wells Fargo, Manchester School District, Citizens Bank, GearUp, and Bank of New Hampshire. Enrollment priority for this program is given to those students that are referred by their principal and are economically disadvantaged lacking access to high-quality summer learning opportunities.

“We put a lot of energy into working with the scholars to really see themselves as young people who are capable of learning and making positive choices,” said Jessica Riendeau, Director of Annual Giving “That will help make these gains stick long after the summer is over.”

Thanks to generous donors and the continued partnerships with Boys and Girls Club of Manchester, BELL, and Middle School at Hillside, the Power Scholars Academy Camp will be offered for a fourth summer in 2019. The Granite YMCA will provide academic and enrichment programming at the Middle School at Hillside and the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester will be offering evening programming. This summer’s program goals will include:

  • Increase scholars’ literacy and math skills and help them avoid summer learning loss
  • Strengthen scholars’ self-confidence, social-emotional development, positive decision-making, physical health, and well-being
  • Build a stronger connection between local schools, The Boys & Girls Club of Manchester and The Granite YMCA
  • Provide a venue for community members to engage and serve youth

Students will receive three hours of academic classes each morning in literacy and math. New this year, students will be placed in small workgroups for the course the day and work together to plan and implement their enrichment classes in subjects such as nature exploration, cooking, arts, physical education and STEM activities. These small workgroups teach decision-making skills and encourage group participation. Scholars will also have the opportunity to participate in STEM programming at UNH Manchester. This will be the first summer that cell phone use will not be permitted during class time allowing for a more productive environment and face-to-face communication.

As with the previous three years, all students will be assessed pre and post-program. A nutritious breakfast, healthy lunch and snack will be served daily. Other enrichment opportunities include character development, positive engagement with social media, service-learning, 21st-century learning skills, college and career visits and presentations, and Friday field trips.

“The program is not only boosting students’ literacy and math, but also their self-confidence, decision making, and communication skills, which is a powerful combination. We are hopeful this program will continue to make a difference in reducing the achievement gap in our Manchester schools,” added Riendeau.

The Power Scholars Academy is recognized as a vital program in how the community can continue to serve Manchester area students as they transition to high school. Families and participants have reported that the program has helped them feel more confident in their abilities and have a more positive attitude towards school.

For more information contact Jessica Riendeau, Director of Annual Giving at The Granite YMCA at jriendeau@graniteymca.org or by phone at (603) 782-2804.

About The Boys & Girls Club of Manchester

The Manchester Boys Club was incorporated in 1907 and became the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester in 1983. We are one of the 53 original organizations that formed what is now Boys & Girls Clubs of America. From its meager beginnings as reading and recreation rooms, the Manchester Club has grown to include the main Clubhouse at 555 Union Street and two school-based after school sites at Jewett Street and Highland Goffe’s Falls Elementary Schools with a focus on academic success, healthy lifestyles and character and leadership development. In addition, we operate Camp Foster summer day camp in Bedford, NH. www.begreatmanchester.org.

About The Granite YMCA

As one of the state’s longest standing and most enduring non-profits, The Granite YMCA focuses on youth development, healthy living, social responsibility, and family strengthening. Across the state, its six branches engage 30,000 men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to improve their health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. In 2018, The Granite YMCA provided financial assistance and free services valued at over $1.77 million to 22,890 individuals. To learn more, please visit www.graniteymca.org.