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American Rescue Plan Act: Making a Difference for Children by Bringing Summer Programs to More Areas of Mobile County

Posted on: May 16th, 2024 | COVID-19News and Announcementsfeatured newsPress Releases

 

MOBILE COUNTY, Alabama – The Mobile County Commission’s local investments through its $80.26 million allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) are making a difference in the lives of many children through summer enrichment programs brought to new areas of Mobile County in 2023. 

 

Registration for the 2024 Summer Enrichment Programs, which will run June 3 through July 19, begins in May. More information on the 2024 programs is available at www.bgscouthal.org/summer/ or by calling 251-432-1235. 

 

Using ARPA funds from the Mobile County Commission, the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Alabama addressed unmet needs for children between the ages of 6 and 15 by offering its Summer Enrichment Program in two new parts of Mobile County for the first time in 2023. The new areas were Wilmer (West Wilmer Baptist Church) and Prichard/Chickasaw (William "Bill" Clark Community Center).  

 

“When we submitted our application for the Summer Enrichment Program, we aimed to bring it to areas where clubs were not yet active, but there was a need,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama’s Development Director Brenda Carlisle.

Because of the centers' locations in the respective communities, one of the key benefits to parents was their children’s ability to walk to the facilities.

National data shows that many children experience learning loss during the summer break. The Summer Enrichment Program helps combat this by offering educational activities and skill-building exercises to keep kids engaged and reinforce their academic knowledge. Summer programs assist students in returning to school with a head start in their studies.

These programs also foster socialization and develop life skills such as communication, cooperation, conflict resolution, critical thinking, goal setting, and more through teamwork and interaction with peers and mentors. Youth learn to share effectively, make friends, and build empathy and understanding for others, contributing to their emotional growth and well-being.

 

"One of the most significant advantages of our summer program was filling the gap from the learning loss children
experienced while school was out. We also offered STEM, Summer Brain Games, and a variety of math exercises, " Carlisle said. "Social interaction was also crucial because we still see some impacts on children from the pandemic."

The assistance of local community members was another advantage of the new locations. Having supportive mentors and community members who knew the children was a plus.


Carlisle said one of the highlights for parents was peace of mind. She said these programs offer a safe and supervised space for youth while their parents work.

What were the highlights for the youth in the program? The answer is easy, field trips.

 

Boys & Girls Clubs summer program participants in new areas of Mobile County were able to visit places that many would not be able to see were it not for the Summer Enrichment Program.


"Our program exposed the kids to various experiences, including educational and fun field trips," she said. "The group traveled to the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery. They also took field trips to Waterville in Gulf Shores, the Exploreum, and more. We packed a lot into the six-week program," said Carlisle.

 

This is one of the many impact projects assisted by Commissioners Merceria Ludgood, Connie Hudson, and Randall Dueitt through Mobile County's ARPA allocation. 

 

To learn more, go to https://www.mobilecountyal.gov/american-rescue-plan-act-of-2021/.

 

CLICK HERE for the first article in this series: Journey to Recovery

 

CLICK HERE for the second article in this series: Semmes Public Safety Complex

 

 

Photos courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama 
Interviews conducted by A. Henderson

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