Small but mighty grants create summertime learning

Ah, summertime.

Time to slow down, take a vacation, recharge the batteries.

But for kids, summer could mean a bit too much TV and video games.

Never fear, there is the Summertime Kids program. Supported by two regional foundations, Summertime Kids is funding 189 projects this summer, 37 of them in Northern Kentucky.

This program has been around since 1996 and offers small, but mighty grants that support supervised activities and programs that are enriching and fun for youth and promote learning during the summer months.

The programs focus on reducing learning loss during the summer months, introducing kids to new experiences that would otherwise not be available to them and have a lasting impact on youth with the greatest need, says Rosie Polter, grants associate with the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

The Foundation administers the grants, which are supported by its donors and the Charles H. Dater Foundation.

This year, GCF made awards to 81 percent of the applications received for a total of 189 projects funded in the amount of $187,062. Out of the 189 projects funded, 37 were projects in Northern Kentucky for an amount of $36,766.

The Center for Great Neighborhoods in Covington received funding for two projects.

Little Coders of Covington is a partnership with the Kenton County Library to create a club targeted at kids ages 12 and under designed to let them experience the world of digital coding. Parents and other family members are encouraged to join the children in the program increasing family time and community bonding.

The Center’s Mind Body Soul Summer Camp is in its fourth year as a week-long camp with activities that focus on increasing social and emotional skills for 12 year olds and younger. Kids make connections between art, creativity and the importance of using these skills to change and support their communities.

“We’re focused on helping kids discover their leadership capacity,” says Dan Petronio, the Center’s associate director. “We’re kind of challenging their awareness of their place in the community. We want to expose them to new things.”

Other Northern Kentucky organizations whose summer programs were funded include:

Northern Kentucky Harvest, whose Backpacks & Breakfast program began in 2001 when volunteers gave away 150 backpacks stuffed with new school supplies to low-income students in Kenton, Campbell, and Boone counties. The group now gives away more than a thousand backpacks and has given away nearly 12,000 over the lifetime of the project.

Renaissance Covington sponsors its City Pollinator Project at Covington Farmers Market, to plant native, pollinator-loving perennials in identified, highly visible areas, teaching children about pollinators and their role in our food system. Through this program, children will plant, tend, and watch pollinator plants grow, as well as hatch caterpillars into monarch butterflies that they can observe at Covington Farmers Market.




Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.
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