In celebration of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine’s Fourth Annual Advocacy Day, local politicians – including State Senator Tom McGarrigle and State Representative Harry Lewis Jr. – recently visited the YMCA’s Power Scholars program at Friendship Elementary School in Coatesville.
Lewis presented certificates of achievement to the children in the Power Scholars program and the children sang “I Believe I Can Fly.”
Power Scholars is a five-week summer learning program for children, mainly from low-income households, who are entering first or sixth grades.
Research indicates that children from low-income households reach kindergarten unprepared and continue to fall behind in school, especially over summer breaks. Without intervention, the achievement and opportunity gap widens, often culminating in low high school and college graduation rates and limited job prospects.
Power Scholars is designed to tackle this summer learning loss through rigorous math and reading instruction, while also fostering physical, social, and emotional growth through field trips and career exploration.
Also, children participate in enrichment activities like swimming lessons. Many of the children have moved from the non-swimmer level to intermediate and even advanced during the five-week program.
“It has been amazing to see their growth in confidence and self-esteem. They are so excited each time they advance to a new swim level,” said Pam Lathbury, School Age Childcare Director for the Brandywine YMCA.
The Power Scholars program is offered at no cost to those who qualify, with program funding provided by the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. Both the Coatesville Area School District and the Oxford Area School District have donated space for the program at Friendship Elementary School and Hopewell Elementary, respectively.
Last year’s program served 82 students, and the program has since more than doubled in size, as it’s currently serving 168 students at two sites this year.
The cost to run the program is approximately $1,500 per child and donations are needed to keep the program going next year. To learn more, contact Mary Burns, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer at 610-643-9622 x 2153.