Summer Counts prepares students for new school year

CAPPA’s Summer Counts program is working to ensure the success of area students in the upcoming school year. Through the program, located at 734 W. Fourth St., students in first through sixth grade, are able work on their academic skills at CAPPA and then participate in fun recreational programs at The Campbell Street Center.

For the past 13 years CAPPA has had a summer program, and for four years it had an academic program. Last year CAPPA created the Summer Counts program and has continued it this summer. The eight week program has 60 students attending CAPPA from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the week. While there, the students work on building their reading, math and language arts skills.

“The goal is to get them ready to go into the grade that they are going into in the Fall,” said Eileen Harley, academic enrichment coordinator for CAPPA.

Teachers for the program reinforce the same ideas and behaviors that the students would use in a classroom during the school year. Harley explained that the teachers and students of the program come from different races, genders, ages and backgrounds, so the students are exposed a wide variety of culture around them.

“There is a misunderstanding in the community that CAPPA is exclusively an African American program and it is not,” said District Attorney, Eric Linhardt, who was visited the program July 30.

Lauren Klopp, a teacher for the program, said that her students use workbooks for their upcoming grade levels, and she helps her students master specific skills and prepares them for any upcoming state standards that children will see in the Fall.

The children also take trips to the James V. Brown Library. During the program, each student is required to read eight books. They also take a trip once a week to the YMCA to go swimming and go on other field trips throughout the program.

“This has become a wonderful place for kids to “hang out” during the summer, and get exactly what they need to be successful students,” Harley said.

From 1 to 4 p.m. the student have the option to go downstairs and take part in The Center’s program, or they can go home at 1 p.m. If a student takes part in The Center’s activities they are able to work on arts and crafts and participate in recreational activities.

“A lot of the parents work, so this is a good opportunity for parents to have their children at a safe place, and at the same time provide what kids need,” Harley said.

Many of the children who participate in Summer Counts also will participate in CAPPA’a after school program when school starts.

“We believe that if we do not educate our kids, the community is at risk,” Harley said.

By having the students focus on their education and get involved in recreational activities, the hope is that it will keep them off the streets.

“Ideally the 60 children that are benefiting from the program this summer, are 60 children whose files will not cross my desk five or 10 years from now,” Linhardt said.