Guest bloggers: Anthony Stevens & Aaron Weatherford
When the school lets out for summer, children go their separate ways to enjoy the time off, going on vacations and other adventures. These are times of fun and freedom, but for some kids, summer is actually a season of huge risks and developmental regression. When children are present for school, and seen throughout the week, they interact with the school’s staff, and get the nutritious foods that they need to stay on task. Summer time presents a gap in those needed actions.
Time away from school can mean no food, no fun, no social development, and academic devastation. In fact, authors from the National Summer Learning Association state that “…summertime presents a clear case where the growth in the achievement gap is the direct result of a gap in resources, choices and opportunities.” Over the summer students have large needs, specifically food, attention, social stimulus, and activities, all of which form the connected puzzle of healthy living for a child. Nutrition plays the largest role in the puzzle, as a kind of link from one need to the other, and how to maintain the energy to meet these needs. When kids go without nutrition, development in vision, fine motor skills, language skills and personal-social skills take a hard hit.
Millions of students rely on schools for food. In fact, over 20 million kids receive free or reduced lunches in school each day. So, when school is not in session, they go without.
How can parents and families combat this problem? Here at Champions for Kids, we want to encourage families and communities to help kids stay summer strong by doing a service project to provide essential items for kids this summer. Tell us about your service project, and you could win up to $10,000 for a school or youth-based organization of your choice! Click here to get started
What about you? Have ideas on how to help kids get the nutritional and academic support they need over the summer?