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MCAN launches extended learning opportunity resource.

The Moonshot Community Action Network (MCAN) launched a new website feature to help parents find quality extended learning opportunities for children in grades pre-school through middle school this summer.

“It’s been an honor to partner with our MCAN extended learning providers and the School District to spread greater awareness of summer learning opportunities in Indian River County,” said Judi Miller, MCAN Leadership Council member and Ret. Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Lucie, Indian River & Okeechobee Counties CEO. “Given the serious impact COVID has had on so many students this past year, opportunities for summer learning are more important than ever before to help alleviate the gaps that have resulted.”

“MCAN is extremely excited to spread awareness of local summer programs through our mapping project done in partnership with Indian River School District. As awareness spreads and students begin these summer initiatives, we can count on our children being better prepared to move into the next school year,” continued Miller.

The link to the map can be found at the MCAN website, MoonshotMoment.org, and features an interactive map with detailed information outlining academic program offerings along with links that take you directly to the camp providers’ website for additional information and enrollment instructions.

The site also offers an opportunity for summer program providers to add their programs to the underlying database and the associated mapping feature with the ability to be updated as programs change.

This summer is more crucial than ever in the lives of our children. The pandemic force school, afterschool and summer program closures creating an ever-widening gap between students and quality educational opportunities. We have much ground we need to make up in the areas of academics, social, emotional, and physical growth for our children.

Children need a return to some semblance of normalcy starting with the summer when kids can have fun but also access summer learning programs that offer fun, educational and enriching activities in a safe setting with their friends and supportive adults.

“The map is a tool to show us where we might have an academic extended learning desert area,” explained Marie O’Brien, The Learning Alliance manager of digital media and community outreach. “So we can focus on ensuring all children have an equitable opportunity for extended learning programs.”

For every child in a summer program there is one child waiting to get in, according to a report published by the Afterschool Alliance. The demand for summer programs is at an all-time high.

Summer is a time for children to experience new adventures and catch up or get ahead in school.

Unmet demand is high – especially for low income families – limiting the number of children with access to this academic and social lifeline.

Nearly twice as many children from higher-income families participate in a structure summer program than those of low income families.

“Our community has come together in exciting ways and we are so thrilled to have a tool and resource available to our families to help them identify programs that will best fit the needs and interests of each of their children,” said Cindy Emerson, SDIRC Director of Instructional Innovation. “Our students benefit when we continue to show we are stronger together!”

The Summer Extended Learning Opportunity Map can be accessed at goo.gl/maps/KefxdegzLX4HmMmT9 or moonshotmoment.org. Click on the link to access the interactive map.