Back in 2013, United Way of Story County (UWSC) partnered with multiple community organizations to start our first Summer Food Service Program (now named Food for Thought) in Nevada offering lunch to students 18 and under plus the transportation to get there. Following the meal, educational activities were provided by community partners and volunteers. Fast forward to 2019 and we are knee deep in planning our sixth year of enrichment programs for four school districts with an additional nine programs throughout the county that offer summer learning opportunities under the Story County Reads umbrella, our education coalition within our county.
Our first year in Nevada we served just over 1,000 meals to 176 students. In 2018, we were able to provide over 24,000 meals to more than 800 students. Through four summer enrichment sites at Ames, Ballard, Collins-Maxwell, and Nevada schools and programs through Ames Public Library, Boys & Girls Clubs of Story County, Raising Readers in Story County, and YSS we have been able to curb the trend of missed meals over the summer months.
Looking to 2019, we are expanding the summer enrichment program formerly known as “Little Cyclone Camp” into two Ames elementary schools to provide “Empower, Enrich, Excel” through a partnership between UWSC, Ames Community School District, Boys & Girls Clubs of Story County, and YSS. Serving children from 1st grade through 8th, this school based summer program will align academics with engaging enrichment sessions, also serving both breakfast and lunch to all students, free of charge.
Nevada’s “Food for Thought” program, provided by UWSC and YSS, will relocate to Nevada Middle School, offering enrichment activities as well as breakfast and lunch to students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Our longest running program will continue to run six weeks and transportation to and from the program will be provided. Also provided by UWSC and YSS, “Little Spartan Camp” at Collins-Maxwell Elementary is a six-week enrichment program offered to youth in kindergarten through 8th grade. Breakfast and lunch are provided as well as transportation services.
Ballard West’s summer reading program, implemented by Ballard Community School District in partnership with UWSC, will offer a morning program targeted at youth who are falling below literacy proficiency during the school year. Breakfast and transportation will be provided to registered students.
Many of UWSC’s partner agencies also have summer enrichment opportunities open to students throughout the county. Ames Community Preschool Center (ACPC) is offering a summer program at two sites focusing on 1st through 6th grade students. They will be combining learning opportunities with breakfast and a morning snack for all participants. In Gilbert, All Aboard for Kids, provides engagement activities in a camp-like setting, targeting youth on the autism spectrum. In Ames and Nevada, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Story County will be offering extended club hours at three different locations. Camp Canwita, a Campfire Iowa camp in Ames, offers programming for youth going into 1st grade through 6th grade with exciting field trips and skill building games throughout the week as well as trips to the local pool. Raising Readers in Story County (RRSC) offers Super K, a transition to Kindergarten program in both Ames and Nevada, providing breakfast and lunch to cohorts of 12 students in two, 2-week sessions. RRSC also hosts the Harrison Barnes Reading Academy, one on one literacy support targeting students in kindergarten through 3rd grade. This summer program is being offered in Ames, Huxley, and Nevada. Kids Club, a tuition based program run by YSS, offers engaging child care in a school setting for kindergarteners through middle schoolers. Locations include Gilbert, Cambridge, and Story City.
Whether you are looking for an experience for your child to keep learning through the summer months, or your student needs some extra support to keep on track, look no further than our summer enrichment opportunities. If you are interested in volunteering to serve meals this summer during the school based programs in Slater, Ames, or Nevada, please contact us about opportunities to help.
UWSC is committed to ensuring that children, youth, and even adults have access to the building blocks for academic and life success, and keeping our students engaged over the summer is one way we do it effectively.