Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor starting “Summer Brain Gain”

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 4:48 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The pandemic has been difficult for students across the country and right here in Michiana. The Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor received some big bucks from the State of Michigan to make a big impact in fighting learning loss.

“In reaction to COVID, we know there has been excessive learning loss potentially, and virtual school, and sort of the transition that has all caused, and so we’re really excited to plug Summer Brain Gain in our Kindergarten thorugh 8th grade program here at the club this summer,” Mackenzie Kastl, CEO of Boys and Girls Club Benton Harbor, says.

It’s the summer of Brain Gain, after a year of Brain Drain. The Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor received a $152,000 grant for their Summer Brain Gain program.

“We have some literacy programs in place, we really wanted to boost those programs, and then in light of COVID and virtual learning and all the loss we anticipate seeing we realized we’re really going to have to boost that program,” Kastl says.

The funding will cover the 10-week Summer Brain Gain sessions. The curriculum will focus on catching students up on math, reading, science, but also minding students mental health.

“A lot of our kids are feeling the pandemic in different ways. so whether they’re feeling depression, they’re feeling isolated, there’s a social emotional piece that we have to address that is going to be part of addressing learning loss,” Kastl says.

The program will take place at other locations around Benton Harbor as well. Enrollment is open and organizers hope to see 250 to 300 students over the summer.

If you want to enroll just call 269-926-8766 and get your student ready for the next school year.

“I love being the home away from home and providing those meaningful relationships. That kind of fills my cup personally and I know the staff here feel the same way. These kids are our family and so being able to serve them throughout the course of the summer, we’re all really looking forward to it,” Kastl says.

Here is the original information sent to 16 News Now by Boys and Girls club of Benton Harbor:

June 8, 2021 (Benton Harbor) – The Boys & Girls Clubs has been awarded a grant from the Michigan Department of Education in the amount of $152,000. Funding is for a Before and After School/Summer Learning Community-Based Organization grant that will support Summer Brain Gain programs for 200 Kindergarten through 8th grade members in four locations.

In addition to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor’s Fettig Youth Campus, programs will also take place in community-based locations at First Church of God in Benton Heights, Upton Middle School in St. Joseph, and LC Mohr High School in South Haven. The funding covers full program expenses for a 10-week Summer Brain Gain curriculum focused on math, reading, science, and social emotional health.

“The Summer Brain Gain program is a great opportunity for K-8 students in southwest Michigan to avoid the learning losses that can stack up from year-to-year over the summer,” said Mackenzie Kastl, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs. “Launching Summer Brain Gain will also help recover some of the learning loss experienced during the pandemic. In addition, we will address the critical emotional needs of our youth, which can stand in the way of learning.”

Summer Brain Gain consists of one-week modules with fun, themed activities for K-8 students that are aligned with common core anchor standards. Each module takes a project-based learning approach: youth engage in a process of learning through discovery, creative expression, group work and a final project or production. As a result, kids develop higher-order thinking skills through the Summer Brain Gain modules while staying on track for the coming school year. Enrollment is open with limited space available. Parents can register their children at each respective location or by calling (269) 926-8766 for more information.

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