The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara is excited to announce its new Summer Brain Gain program — an educational, fun initiative designed to combat summer learning loss, or brain drain, that disproportionately impacts kids from lower income households and hampers their progress the following school year.

Summer Brain Gain is part of a larger, year-round, newly strengthened focus on education and academic success at BGCSB.

Developed and tested by the Boys & Girls Club of America, the program offers engaging educational activities for youth ages 6-18 with a focus on academics.

While the average low-income student loses two months of learning over the summer, the average Summer Brain Gain participant does not experience such loss.

Some Club members have even seen learning gains, especially in vital 21st-century skills such as working in groups and critical thinking.

According to new BGCSB Executive Director Diana Oplinger, “Summer Brain Gain offers stimulating activities that keep our kids engaged outside of school. It’s a way for them to exercise their minds in imaginative, creative ways — whether that’s conducting fun, hands-on science experiments, writing tall tales, challenging themselves with topical discussions or doing a photo scavenger hunt.

“We help them look at the world in new and exciting ways. We want them to start the new school year refreshed and enthusiastic and having retained the knowledge and skills from their previous grade,” she said.

Currently, the working parents of club kids pay an affordable membership fee of $30 a year, per child. However, the actual cost to BGCSB is $1,600 per child.

This year, for the first time, the membership fee includes Summer Brain Gain and other summer programming at no additional cost. This is to ensure all kids have the tools to start the new school year at grade level and ready to learn.

As a result, the BGCSB is reaching out to the community to help keep this opportunity within reach for all families. The goal is to raise $100,000, so that all kids can participate in Summer Brain Gain.

Since 1938, the BGCSB has offered young people hope a safe place to learn and grow; ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals; life-enhancing programs; and character development experiences.

That mission continues with support from everyone who wants to ensure young people have access to programs like Summer Brain Gain that help them shape great futures.

For more information regarding Summer Brain Gain or other BGCSB programs, contact Michael Padden-Rubin, development director, at 805.962.2382 or [email protected].

— Michael Padden-Rubin represents Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara.

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