Over the summer many young people and their families lose access to critical supports that keep them safe, healthy and engaged in learning and meaningful work experiences. The summer “opportunity gap” contributes to gaps in achievement, employment, and college and career success, particularly for low-income students. Studies also show that providing summer opportunities help divert youth from criminal involvement and reduce violence. To meet this challenge, state and local leaders, community-based organizations, private sector and philanthropic leaders, schools and other youth-serving agencies are coming together to create a set of supports that enable strong transitions from school year to school year and from high school to college and careers. In recognition of the innovative and effective summer jobs, learning, and meals partnerships in cities, towns and counties, the White House, Civic Nation and the National Summer Learning Association will convene a Champions of Change event to highlight leaders who are turning summer from a time of loss into a time of great gain. We are asking you to help us identify and honor such individuals who are dedicating their time, talent and resources to strengthen and expand summer learning, meals and jobs opportunities for young people.
In addition to honoring Champions of Change in summer opportunity, we will hold a summer opportunity workshop. At the workshop people from around the country will hear what’s working, learn about new resources, share best practices, and meet new partners. They will roll up their sleeves and begin to collaborate for this summer and beyond.
Under President Obama’s leadership, including through the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, opportunities for more enriching summers have grown significantly, whether through the recent expansion of the AmeriCorps program, which provides critical staffing for summer programs across the country; the growth of the USDA Summer Meal Programs which leverage community sponsors to provide meals to all children and teens in eligible areas across the country; or the new vision for summer school and expanded models for summer jobs, which serve more youth and provide onramps to career pathways, spurred by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. There is still much work to be done, and we need your help to identify the people and places that are leading the way in closing the summer opportunity gap.
Please submit nominations by 5:00 PM EST on Thursday, January 21st. Nominees may include the following types of individuals who are investing in, operating or advocating for high-quality summer learning, meals and jobs opportunities: