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United Way’s Fun in the Sun Program Awarded $15,000 Grant from Union Bank

United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Fun in the Sun Program has received a $15,000 grant from Union Bank to help provide educational materials and enrichment activities (such as field trips related to art, music, science, and history; sports and physical activity lessons and equipment; cooking lessons; etc.) for an estimated 220 financially and academically at-risk children (ages 7 to 18) and 150 parents at four sites across south Santa Barbara County.

Fun in the Sun is a 16-year national award-winning summer learning collaborative involving more than 60 service delivery partners, 19 funding partners and more than 500 community volunteers.

The program is designed to: 1) increase academic, behavioral, and social skills in participants and their families, and 2) address the long-term effects of summer learning loss and the achievement gap on participants, their families, and the community.

Research has shown that low-income students are disproportionately at risk to lose academic skills during the summer. While middle and upper income children gain approximately one month of reading skills during summer breaks, lower-income children lose three months of reading skills.

Indeed, Johns Hopkins University researchers have more than 10 years of data to show that “by ninth grade, summer learning loss can be blamed for roughly two-thirds of the achievement gap separating income groups” (Time Magazine, Aug. 2, 2010).

In 2012, Fun in the Sun was named recipient of the National Excellence in Summer Learning Award by the National Summer Learning Association, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, for its success in reducing and reversing summer learning loss.

“We are pleased and honored to again partner with United Way of Santa Barbara County to provide Fun in the Sun to hundreds of local children and their families,” George Leis of Union Bank said.

United Way of Santa Barbara County has the unique and positive vision that “in our community, everyone has a hopeful future.” Since 1923, UWSBC has served the Santa Barbara County community through funding, volunteer development, and by utilizing its own unique initiatives that involve dozens of local nonprofit and public sector agencies. UWSBC’s local community-driven Power of Partnership™ priorities help children, families, and seniors with a focus on Education, Income, and Health.

Click here for more information.

— Katie Higgins represents United Way of Santa Barbara County.

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