Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, Community Foundation of Sarasota County come together to help youth avoid the “COVID slide”
Contact Name: Sara Bealor
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Contact Phone Number: 941-366-3911
When COVID-19 forced students out of their classrooms and into chatrooms, experts from local foundations and nonprofit organizations came together to help at-risk children stay on track and avoid academic regression. Now more than ever, these partners are demonstrating their commitment to ensuring children have the resources they need during the summer months to succeed when schools reopen. Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County and Community Foundation of Sarasota County are two of the key players in this community-wide collaboration.
“While teachers worked tirelessly to connect with their students in this new virtual space, a staggering number of children faced unique challenges at home that kept them from accessing, learning and retaining their schoolwork,” said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County.
Despite the remarkable efforts of schools and teachers, recent studies suggest children are more likely to experience an academic relapse due to the pandemic, otherwise known as the “COVID slide” or “COVID slowdown.” This concern is even more daunting for students who lack the resources and tools necessary to achieve state standards. Whether children are experiencing food insecurity or witnessing a parent file for unemployment, the pandemic has exacerbated long-standing opportunity gaps and threatens the livelihood of our community’s future leaders if they fall behind academically.
“With partners like the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, we’re closing the achievement gap this summer through our Great Futures Academy at no cost to local families,” said Sadlo.
Community Foundation of Sarasota County awarded $160,000 from the Allen Wirtz Nobbe and Jo Bowen Nobbe Fund and Edward K. Roberts Emerging Needs Fund to Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County in support of this modified summer program.
Great Futures Academy was planned in accordance with the health protocols set forth by federal and local officials including the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Florida Department of Health. With the highest safety measures in place, the program provides academic enrichment activities to a limited number of children between the ages of 6 and 12 who are either a student at a Title I school or a child of a local first responder.
The program features academic enrichment activities with supplemental curriculum designed to empower youth to excel in school, become leaders, adopt healthy habits and plan for success after high school graduation. Meals and snacks are also served to program participants at no additional cost.
“The Community Foundation alongside its donors has been committed to supporting innovative approaches that build resiliency and lead to recovery,” says Nicole Light, Education Officer at the Community Foundation. “In a school year disrupted by virtual learning, the importance of mitigating the summer slide has never been more important. We believe a whole family, two-generation focus around summer learning helps close the achievement gap, and the program offered by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County is doing just that and more for our children, their families, and ultimately our community.”
Throughout the month, the two organizations will share stories of impact from families and children participating in the Great Futures Academy on their social media platforms using #GreatFuturesFriday including facebook.com/BGCSC and facebook.com/CommunityFoundationSarasotaCounty.
For more information, visit bgcsarasota.com.
ABOUT BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF SARASOTA COUNTY: Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County has been a leading youth-serving organization in Sarasota County and its surrounding area since 1970, and provides enriching after-school and summer programs to thousands of youth, ages 6 to 18, in Sarasota, Venice, North Port and Arcadia. The organization’s mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need services the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The programs are designed to empower youth to excel in school, become leaders, adopt healthy habits and create plans for success after high school graduation. For more information, visit bgcsarasota.com or call 941-366-3911.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SARASOTA COUNTY: Community Foundation of Sarasota County is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. With assets of $418 million in more than 1,500 charitable funds, the Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling $21.5 million dollars last year in the areas of education, the arts, health and human services, civic engagement, animal welfare and the environment. Since its founding, the Community Foundation has been able to grant more than $274 million to area nonprofit organizations to our community thanks to the generosity of charitable individuals, families, and businesses. For more information, visit www.CFSarasota.org or call (941) 955-3000.