Although it has been 17 years, I remember our family’s summer vacation to Yellowstone National Park as if it were yesterday! The geysers, the waterfalls, the bubbling painted pools, the grand lodge, the bison and bears…It all made a lasting impression on us. There was even a moose that blocked the road in front of our car! I also remember going to the library before our trip so Katie and Jonathan could choose their vacation reading – Shel Silverstein for 7-year-old Katie and Dr. Seuss for 3-year-old Jonathan. I remember laptop computers in the back seat as we were driving through Nebraska. Reader Rabbit and Math Blaster were the educational programs of choice.
Jo and I cherish each memory of our trip, but we also understand how fortunate our family was to enjoy a vacation like that. And how fortunate our children were to grow up in a home where learning was so highly valued.
I also know that far too many of the children served here at the Lafayette Urban Ministry will never experience the same kinds of summer vacations as my children. A trip to a place like Yellowstone – and all the growth and learning that surrounds it – will probably never be in the cards for them.
Educational research shows that as much as 60% of the academic achievement gap separating low-income children from their more financially stable peers can be traced to differential summer learning opportunities.
Test scores show that all students’ learning improves at similar rates during the school year, but during the summer, low-income children plateau or lose ground, while their peers from better off homes actually advance their learning. By the end of grade school, children from disadvantaged households, on average, score a full two years behind on their standardized tests.
That’s why the Lafayette Urban Ministry is so adamant about continuing our Fifth Quarter Summer Learning Retention Program.
The program is housed at LUM’s Ray Ewry Youth Program Center on 4th Street in Lafayette. We are in session for 10 weeks during the summer months when school is in recess. Fifth Quarter employs fun learning techniques to boost our students’ proficiency in reading, math, science and social studies. Our goal is for each child to be better-prepared to return to school in August.
Each morning, Fifth Quarter begins with a rally program, nutritious snacks, recreational reading and educational games on laptop computers. Then it is on to our educational pods in math, science and social studies.
Fifth Quarter isn’t summer school. Often our sessions are held at Centennial Park or under a nearby tree. The learning is hands-on with plenty of enthusiasm and encouragement offered by LUM’s Fifth Quarter teachers. There are frequent field trips to Purdue, the public library and other locations where the children have fun and experience new things.
And Fifth Quarter allows children’s parents to attend their day jobs knowing their children are safe and secure in an academically enriched environment. While at LUM, the children hear positive comments about the importance of learning. They meet new friends, experience strong role models, grow in self-esteem and gain confidence in their abilities.
I hope you will join me in financially supporting LUM’s Fifth Quarter Summer Learning Retention Program.
It will cost $27,000 to operate Fifth Quarter during our current ten-week, 2014 summer session. Included in this budget are the costs of the program’s four educators, curriculum, supplies, snacks, books and transportation.
Your gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, or more, will help LUM to make sure our Fifth Quarter Kids are better-equipped to succeed in school this fall and better-prepared to overcome the challenges that life will certainly place before them after that. Whether you are making plans for your own vacation this summer, or perhaps remembering the growth and wonder experienced by a young person close to you during summer vacations past, please join me in supporting the important work of LUM’s Fifth Quarter Program.
On behalf of the Lafayette Urban Ministry Fifth Quarter Summer Learning Class of 2014, please accept my sincere thanks for your special friendship and generous support.
P.S. — Please, won’t you support the children who learn and grow through LUM’s Fifth Quarter Summer Learning Program? Send your gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, or more, today. Give online at www.lumserve.org.
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