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By GSAN’s Policy Associate

July 12th marked the celebration of Summer Learning Day, a national advocacy day that highlights the importance of summer programs and their critical role in keeping kids learning, healthy and safe during the summer months. Summer programs across Georgia hosted events on July 12th, officially proclaimed as Summer Learning Day by Governor Nathan Deal.

At least seventeen programs across Georgia joined the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network (GSAN) in celebrating Summer Learning Day while nearly 950 programs registered nationwide in the service of near 650,000 children. Children, parents, business and community leaders came together in Atlanta to promote the critical role summer programs play in supporting academic growth and helping working families. Some highlights include events hosted by Andrew & Walter Young Family YMCA, Horizons Atlanta, and the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta (BGCMA).

Andrew & Walter Young Family YMCA, serving over 500 kids from birth to age 18 over the summer, held a celebration as part of Summer Learning Day in collaboration with GSAN. The event started with a press conference featuring speeches by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Commissioner Amy Jacobs, Atlanta Public Schools Vice Chair Eshé Collins, and Atlanta City Councilmember Marci Overstreet; with a special appearance from Walter Young. The press conference was followed by a tour of the program in action including an aquaponics greenhouse, a robotics lab, and a music station that teaches kids math concepts.

Horizons Atlanta, serving over 800 students across the Atlanta metro area at 10 site locations, partnered with Creating Connected Communities, a non-profit organization that provides free events for underserved students to celebrate them and allow them to have a fun-filled day to host a Summer Learning Carnival. Horizons Atlanta students joined together to attend a free carnival put on by Creating Connected Communities, a local nonprofit that celebrates children in need while providing valuable community service opportunities for Atlanta’s teens. The students had a day of fun that included a slip and slide, live DJ, food trucks, STEM activities, arts and crafts, a bouncy house, and more!

On Wednesday, July 18th, BGCMA, serving over 3,500 youths across 25 clubs in 10 Atlanta metro counties, brought their young chefs together to showcase their culinary chops at the 2018 Salsa Salsa Celebration sponsored by Willy’s Mexicana Grill in celebration of Summer Learning Day. A team of professional dancers started the event with a few quick Salsa lessons. BGCMA youth prepared unique salsa dishes, made with vegetables grown in their very own Club gardens in the annual tasting challenge.

All three events were a success! Thank you to all Georgia programs that participated in Summer Learning Day 2018. Your efforts to provide quality summer programming to youth across the state of Georgia are greatly appreciated.