“Thank you for not giving up on me…”

Because students spend just 20% of their lives in school, it’s important that learning continues outside the classroom. By establishing a system that helps steer local youth toward high-quality out-of-school time (OST) programs, Metro United Way hopes to provide a stronger educational foundation to help decrease the high school drop-out rate and increase the pursuit of college degrees, thus benefitting the entire community in the long run.

One of these OST programs is a free summer camp through our partner, Lighthouse Academy at Newburg called, “How I Survived the Summer.” Each day for four weeks this summer, 85 children in grades kindergarten – eighth grade took part in academic enhancement, arts enrichment, team building experiences, exercise, youth development, social emotional learning programs and leadership development. Field trips were taken to Bernheim Forest Wilson Creek Exploration, Lazer Blaze, Champs Rollerdrome and the Louisville Water Company – places most of the youth had never been.

An eighth grader named “J” joined the camp this summer and initially struggled to follow the rules. He came to Lighthouse using foul language, bullying other children, and disrespecting almost everyone. Lighthouse’s Director of Operations made a phone call to his mother explaining that because they were having so much trouble with “J”, he might need to be sent home for the day. The mom responded, “That’s fine. I’ll send him <somewhere else to live>.” After hearing her tone, the Director immediately felt that it was imperative to not only keep “J”, but to extend extra love to him which they did. On the final day of the program, “J” came up to her and in an embrace and gushed the words, “Thank you for not giving up on me. I promise to take what I have learned this summer and use it in all areas of my life, especially at home.”

Obviously students not only “Survived the Summer” but they grew to be caring, strong students and friends. We at Metro United Way are all so proud of you, “J” and look forward to seeing how you excel in school this fall. We’re all behind you!

For more information about OST programs, critical in helping students boost academic performance, reduce risky behaviors and graduate high school college and career-ready, click HERE.

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