Giving up was never an option.

Creating Positive, Lasting Change One Person at a Time.

One of Metro United Way’s partners, Lighthouse Academy, hosts a free out-of-school time summer camp in Newburg called “How I Survived the Summer” for grades K-8. This past summer, an eighth grader who we’ll call “J” attended. J started causing trouble almost immediately. He would mercilessly bully other kids. His language was foul enough to make a sailor blush. He was utterly disrespectful.

Lighthouse’s Director of Operations called J’s mom to address the issue and perhaps send J home for a day for him to reflect on his behavior. But, unexpectedly and unfortunately, J’s mom responded by telling the director, she was going to send J somewhere else to live.

This was obviously a jarring revelation that changed everything. After hearing what the mom said, the director immediately felt that it was imperative to not only keep J, but to extend extra love to him, which they did by giving J a little more of what they give all kids. They mentored him, taught him crucial socio-emotional skills, and maybe most important of all, they listened to him.

Day by day, J’s behavior improved. He started getting positive feedback and that helped him improve even more. And soon, J was, like the other kids, able to enjoy healthy meals, go on field trips to places he’d never seen, and participate in other activities like gardening, music, reading, and camping. J ended up having a great summer.

On the final day of the program, J hugged the program director and said, “Thank you for not giving up on me.” He then promised to take what he’d learned and use it in all areas of his life, especially at home.

The Importance of Out-of-School Time Programs

Because students spend just 20 percent 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 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 benefiting the entire community in the long run.



And help more kids like J learn outside of school.



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