School is out for summer. Once those doors close, kids aren’t welcomed back until August.
Think about it – here in Indianapolis that is 221,664 youth, 19 years and under, who need adults to take care of them.
While summer break is shorter for most youth because of balanced calendars (school is out for two weeks in fall, winter and spring) it still averages around 9 weeks. Youth are in school at least 180 days a year by law – that leaves 185 “out of school” days.
While our city enjoys new school choices through new charter, magnet and private schools, I’ve witnessed a decline in youth enrichment programs that focus on out of school time.
The Kaleidoscope Youth Center recently closed as did Ruth Lilly Health Education Center‘s building at 22nd and Senate. Now, Marian University runs Ruth Lilly Health Education’s programs through outreach.
What happened? Because of multiple factors including funding, testing and competition for class time, many students do not go on field trips or only take one-two field trips a year versus the nearly monthly field trips they enjoyed before.
In response to this trend, Peace Learning Center has modified our programs to go directly into classrooms, offices, and communities. While many of the field trip programs to Eagle Creek Park and Peace Camp in southern Indiana ended during the great recession due to school budget cuts, we still offer robust summer camp experiences for hundreds of children and youth each summer.
People ask how we’ve survived these last 18 years. It is because of people like you who support and encourage us to move forward. Our city is full of positive people with integrity and compassion.
Let’s step up and provide the best experiences possible for kids this summer through arts, nature, recreation, and discovery. Summer should be freedom to connect with all those passions that schools often don’t give children opportunities to explore.
Please help Peace Learning Center share summer with Indy’s kids by donating to support our summer programs and/or by participating in our special summer offerings! Check our website to learn more about our summer camps and special workshops your family or your children can attend.
This blog post is written by Tim Nation, Executive Director and Co-founder of Peace Learning Center.