Students lined colorful beach towels at Pecan Springs Elementary School’s lawn today practicing yoga as part of the Andy Roddick Foundation Summer Learning Program.
This five-week summer program allows more than 70 Austin-area students in kindergarten through fifth grade to attend summer camp and participate in activities from gardening to robotics.
“Summer should create memories of fun and new experiences and learning adventures,” said Richard Tagle, CEO of the Andy Roddick Foundation. “But for millions of young people, including many right in our Austin community, summer is a time when kids' learning skills can deteriorate. The focus of our foundation is to expand opportunities for young people to learn, succeed and thrive. We are proud to do so through our grantees and partners, of course, but even more so through our own program that started this week.”
In the past, the foundation has worked with partners to host tennis clinics, but this year the foundation launched its own program, designing a schedule and curriculum for Pecan Springs.
Pecan Springs Principal Elaine McKinney said there was a waiting list for the program.
“Programs such as this are important because students lose so much if they’re not continuing to read throughout the summer,” McKinney said. “We’re going to minimize that through this summer program.”
Research shows that positive Out of School Time programming greatly improves the lives of underserved young people leading not only to better grades and test scores but also improved health and higher graduation rates. Especially in the summer, where cognitive development and academic progress can be lost, programming is needed to keep students engaged and thriving.
For underserved young people, there is little public funding set aside to support the needed programming. Private funding from organizations such as the Andy Roddick Foundation step in to fill the gap with a Summer Learning Program that will help participants maintain academic skills and gain new ones, better preparing them for school in the fall.
The foundation recently posted its fall mini-grant application at www.arfoundation.org/getinvolved/grants.html. The application deadline is June 30; fall mini-grants will be awarded in early September.