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Arts2Youth helps prevent summer learning ‘slide’

For several days in August, United Way’s Arts2Youth pilot program brought kids together with local artists to combat summer learning loss, otherwise known as "summer slide." Artists worked with kids at Mason Community Learning Center during the summer free lunch program.

Summer break is the ultimate holiday for children everywhere. A symbol of freedom, summer is a chance for students to fulfill their daydreams of sleeping in, staying up late and playing all day. For two months, there isn’t any homework, teachers or tests.

But, summer time is also a time when students, predominantly from low-income families, suffer from learning loss. A time when students’ minds are not challenged and they lose academic skills that they’ve gained during the school year.

Keeping children engaged in learning over the summer is crucial to reinforce concepts learned during the school year and to help prevent “summer slide” — when students slide backward academically.

In fact, research has shown that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer.

While helping keep kid’s brains active during summer down time, the Arts2Youth pilot program also provided opportunities kids wouldn't have otherwise. Over a three day period, participants were exposed to an introductory photography lesson, two song writing sessions, a scrap-material sculpture lesson, a musical therapy drawing session, an intro to acting session and a photo mural creation project.

A growing body of research shows a positive correlation between involvement in the arts and academic achievement. A report by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies highlights several studies that show the arts support student achievement in a variety of areas, including reading and language, mathematics, critical thinking and motivation to learn. Further, the report points to several studies that have shown increased years of enrollment in arts courses are positively correlated with higher SAT verbal and math scores.

Arts2Akron is just one example of United Way’s efforts to help prepare kids for school, finish school and pursue higher education. Read more about United Way’s work in education here.

Thanks to all our volunteers who helped make the Arts2Youth pilot program happen!

Arts2Youth volunteers and sponsors included:

Dave’s Market
Dodd’s Camera
Walgreens Highland Square
Sterling Jewelers
ArtsNow
City of Akron Lunch Program
Fairlawn School of Music
Shane Wynn Photography
Global Village Festival
Tim Fitzwater Photography
Akron Honey Company
Svetlia Ganeva-Morrison Photograpy
Chick-Fila (Howe Ave)
Jimmy John's (Main St.)
Papa John's (E Market St.)