Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County Offer a Place for Kids To Fight “Summer Brain Drain”

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UNION – While many lucky out-of-school youth will look forward this summer with trips to Disney and other theme parks and attractions, many more will find themselves with few structured activities, parents who are working all day – and too much time to get into trouble with gangs, drugs, or other violence. Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County are offering young people a safe, positive place to spend the summer months while also fighting the effects of “Summer Brain Drain.”

By the Numbers

During the school year, the hours young people spend after school offer the most danger – and the most opportunity – of any part of their day. More than 14 million kids are alone and unsupervised after school. Over the summer, the numbers get even worse:

  • More than 1/3 of students will spend at least three days home alone each week this summer.
  • Parents are especially concerned about summer and see these months as the hardest time to make sure their child has things to do.
  • Many parents are concerned that their child will fall behind on academics during the summer.

A majority of students would be interested in a summer program to help them keep up with their schoolwork (Wallace Foundation).

Out-of-School Programs Fight “Summer Brain Drain”

According to the Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University, “Summer Brain Drain” is a seasonal malady that causes millions of young people to lose months of accumulated knowledge. Many educators see summer vacation as a learning challenge. Some young people take advantage of the time to get ahead and prepare for demanding college prep classes.

However, many parents argue that summer is a time to allow kids to relax by the pool and build sandcastles on the beach, not practice their algebra and periodic tables. The cost of a summer of total relaxation is that many young people return to school in the fall only to find they have forgotten months of learning from the previous school year. This is “Summer Brain Drain,” also known as summer learning loss or the summer slide.

“While the months without daily lessons are part of the problem, another cause of Summer Brain Drain is that many young people are left alone for much of the summer, with little or no direction to channel their time and energies,” stated Russell Triolo, Chief Executive Officer, Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County.

Triolo continued, “Summer Brain Drain hits particularly hard among young people from low-income households or those in which both parents work. For them, it only exacerbates their challenges. Faced with difficult home and economic situations, many young people are likely to accept lower standards of academic achievement, lessening their aspirations for higher education”.

Tips for Parents

During the summer, parents and students can take advantage of programs at Boys & Girls Clubs and other community organizations. They offer a number of engaging activities to:

  1. Build one-on-one tutoring relationships.
  2. Create collaborative projects where young people work together to complete a project.
  3. Engage in high-yield learning activities, including games that use cognitive skills, writing activities, creating short plays, skits or musical pieces, or reading.
  4. Create projects that encourage parental involvement.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County can be reached at the following numbers:  Union Club – 908-687-2697, Plainfield Club – 908-822-8672, Elizabeth Club – 908-351-3344 or on the web at www.bgcuc.org.


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