For many under-served children in our community who live in low income neighborhoods, school is the one place where they can get a nutritious meal, learn to read, exercise safely and interact with a number of positive adult role models each day. During the school year kids grow, learn and have a layer of protection that often is not present during the summer months.
Summer vacation is a wonderful time for most kids, but if you’re from a neighborhood where gang violence and drugs are a problem, it can be a time of great danger. It can be a time when your reading skills slide and you fall behind classmates that have better access to books, computers and positive role models over the summer months. The well known phenomena of kids from lower income neighborhoods falling behind their classmates because of certain socio-economic factors is called the “Summer Slide”
There is a cure for the summer slide: summer camps. More specifically, summer camps that include reading time, nutrition, education and exercise. Summer camps like the ones available through great Worcester organizations like Girl’s inc, The Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA and YWCA. These camps can be life changing for kids in need.
I have had the opportunity to visit these camps as part of my work with the United Way of Central Massachusetts. For me, it is a great opportunity to learn about the great work they are doing and to recharge my own batteries and remind me of the important role UMass Memorial plays in this community.
These kids, including my buddies known as the Angry Ants, need us. Our donations have sent many lucky kids to camp that otherwise would not be able to attend. Unfortunately there is an unmet need and not all kids get to go to camp and so they slide during the summer and start the next school year behind their classmates.
This year let’s make sure every kid that wants to go to camp has the opportunity. For caregivers employed by our Medical Group, Medical Center and parent company, please join me in donating to the UMass Memorial Summer Strong program as part of our current Central Massachusetts United Way campaign. The Summer Strong fund will pay to send kids to camps that are specifically designed to stop the summer slide. You can donate by sending an email, filling out a pledge card or going online here.
For all other caregivers in the system please consider supporting the summer camp program, which you can do by emailing Becky Martella or calling her at 774-443-0307.
Your donation of just $4 a week can send a kid to camp and change a life forever.
Thanks for all of your great ideas, for taking great care of our patients, one another, and supporting worthwhile causes like sending the Angry Ants and other deserving kids to camp,