Out of School Learning

Learning loss occurs during the months when students are not in attendance in school. This is most significant in June through August, but the negative affects of learning loss can be experienced throughout the school year. United Way of Story County brings together multiple organizations to collaboratively serve students with community and school-based programs. These programs fit together to create a portfolio of supports addressing the unique and diverse needs of our youth, ensuring the opportunity to achieve academic goals.


Research from the Annie E Casey Foundation and the national Campaign for Grade Level Reading has shown that students who are not engaged in either academics or enrichment activities lose ground with their education over the summer months. Additionally, students from families with lower resources lose, on average, two months or more in reading proficiency. Some students are already behind academically due to challenges and barriers they experience during the school year. The lack of learning opportunities in the summer can make that gap even wider. What is most alarming is that by the end of 5th grade, these children who would benefit from additional support are nearly three grade equivalents behind more well-resourced peers in reading proficiency.
Summer is also a time when some families have a harder time making their budgets work because their food costs increase so dramatically. Food insecurity during these summer months negatively impacts these families the most, as children who are normally receiving meals at school during the day do not have that option. Healthy food options may be limited as well because the food that is available for quick and easy preparation may not be the healthiest choice.  
Knowing all of these things, United Way of Story County has taken an active role in providing food and academic enrichment opportunities for children during the summer. Together, with other community partners, UWSC through the Story County Reads education initiative helps fund and implement summer programs in Ames, Ballard, Collins-Maxwell and Nevada. 
UWSC is working with the school districts of Ames, Nevada, Collins-Maxwell and Ballard along with the Summer Learning team for Story County Reads to organize and implement the summer food and enrichment programs to complement academic programming.
Enrichment activities from previous years included learning opportunities in the areas of science, technology, reading, engineering, math and the arts. All sites for programs rely heavily on volunteers to provide the meals and the learning experiences.

Interested in Volunteering?

Visit www.uwstory.org/volunteer to fill out our volunteer form and select Summer Learning Program in the drop down.



Summer Enrichment




Story County Reads' Out of School Learning Team comes together monthly to coordinate a portfolio of programs: 

  • 4 school based sites
  • 8 community based sites
  • Programs impact students in all 7 school districts



All Aboard for Kids, ACPC, Ames Community School District, Ames Public Library, Ballard Community School District, Boys and Girls Clubs Story County, Campfire Heart of Iowa, Collins-Maxwell Community School District, ISU Extension and Outreach, Nevada Community School District, Nevada Public Library, Raising Readers in Story County, YSS

Our team's multi-prong approach addresses these needs: 

  • Healthy meals provided to combat hunger and the summer meal gap
  • A caring and safe learning environment in all settings
  • Engaging experiences rooted in academics and enrichment
  • Social emotional supports to foster connections 
  • Volunteers to build community support