Bittersweet Goodbyes

 C24/7 After School Program students 

 

The end of the school year brings a mix of many emotions for those involved in the C24/7 after school program. June 14th, marked with a big party filled with way too much junk food, was the last day of program for our students. If you walked into the room you would hear shouts of joy for the heaps of candy being passed around and giggles from friends playing games together. But underneath the laughter and chatter, was a somber presence that could be felt by all. “Its hard to come and see the huge need here. I love to come to a place where the love is unconditional and we are feeding their minds, bodies and souls, but I cannot imagine they all receive this on a consistent basis,” says one of our faithful volunteers who has been investing in the after school program weekly along with her husband and toddler son. C24/7’s after school program provides a safe space for students to come and receive nurturing care that, for the majority, is not displayed in the home. 


For many suburban students, the end of the school year means nomore homework, vacations, camps, friends and pool time. But the students in our neighborhood face a different reality. There is an increase in violence and crime that students are exposed to at a very young age. Many of our students cannot afford to attend summer programs in the area, which means too much free time and increased possibility of involving themselves in illegal and unsafe activities. One 8th grade student from C24/7 says, “summer is supposed to be a time to go outside and have fun, but it gets more dangerous around here cause thereare more people outside and people are shooting people.”
A report from John Hopkins’s National Summer Learning Association laid out the impact summertime has on urban students verse students from middle class communities. The report stated, “on average, youth from lower-income families lose two months of learning, or 22 percent of the school year, during their summer break—and those losses are cumulative, meaning that lower-income youth are also less likely to graduate from high school or attend college.”

 

This leads us to the question, how can we prevent the “summer slide?” How can you be a part of creating a safe and healthy environment for our students in the summer?

C24/7 is looking ahead to the 2016-2017 school year and puttingseveral new steps in place to better structure the after school program and care for our students.

  • Working with an educational coordinator to test/record students progress and track grades
    -Developing relationships with Gale Elementary Staff to keep track of students behavior and daily homework assignments
    -Fundraising in order to purchase new space for the after school program
    -Recruiting enough teachers and professional tutors in order for each student to be able to work one on one with an adult
    -Planning and preparing a summer program for 2017
    -Recruiting a professional artist that will provide an organized weekly art project

Please consider being a part of the solution in decreasing the “summer slide” here in the North of Howard neighborhood by partnering with C24/7. Contact James and Natalie Crockett at crockettjamesone1@gmail.com for more information.