Rebecca Inver

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The Wallace Foundation Summer Learning Demonstration: Boston Public Schools/Boston After School and Beyond

This year, the Courageous Summer Youth Program participated in the Summer Learning Project (SLP) for the second year.  This program is part of a national study to help reduce summer learning loss and Courageous is lucky to be part of a great network of other nonprofits in Boston. Organizations currently participating in SLP include: Tenacity, Thompson Island Outward Bound, Ponkapoag Outdoor Center, Hale Reservation, YMCA Boston, and Boys and Girls Club Boston.

SLP works with rising 4th graders from Boston Public Schools who are identified as being at risk for summer learning loss.  Throughout the five-week program, students study at school in the morning, then join us at our sailing center in Charlestown or Jamaica Pond.  While at the sailing center with us, students learn marine biology in an experiential, hands-on setting before heading out on the water on one of our Rhodes 19 sailboats.  Through investigation based learning, the students explore a range of scientific topics including life cycles, aquatic ecosystems, and damage caused by environmental pollution and oil spills.  Each lesson includes a literary component as well as an engaging activity that employs our surroundings as a living classroom.

The students that participate in our program have been selected because assessments identify them as being in a vulnerable population, academically. For many of our kids, factors including learning challenges, language barriers and behavioral control, significantly impede their access to comprehending and engaging with new material. Unfortunately, these students can eventually become very discouraged by repeated attempts to make progress. Often, they come to internalize this condition, and may even give up trying at all. 

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This Saturday we hosted a Halloween-themed Open House at the JP boathouse for Summer Youth Program students, families, and staff.

It was a gorgeous day on the pond with bright sunshine, a strong breeze, and beautiful autumn colors. Many families joined us, decked out in the finest Halloween costumes, and sailed, rowed, painted pumpkins, ate too much candy, and celebrated the fall season with other Youth Program participants and staff.

Thank you to the JP boathouse staff, the excellent instructors who took us sailing, and to the families and young sailors who joined us!

From now until the Summer Youth Program officially begins in June, we will be hosting many events from career building skills for our Instructors in Training to family activities in communities around Boston to fundraising events to help us continue to offer great summer programming. Keep an eye out for our e-mails, Facebook and blog posts, Tweets advertising for more Open Houses and other Summer Youth Program events in the upcoming months.

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