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Boys & Girls Club of Rockford finds success with new summer enrichment program

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Boys & Girls Club summer program

Boys & Girls Club summer program

Boys & Girls Club of Rockford finds success with new summer enrichment program

ROCKFORD (WREX) — We are nearly one month into the school year for districts across the Stateline, but the work to prepare students for success started back in the summer for one organization.

Usually kids at the Fairgrounds Boys & Girls Club spend their summer shooting hoops and seeing friends, but this past summer, you would've seen a different sight.

The Boys & Girls Club of Rockford launched a pilot program at the club to help kids catch up to where they need to be in school.

"It's two hours, its an hour of intensive reading instruction, an hour of intensive math instruction, taught in three centers," says tutor and program administrator Kim McLaughlin.

"So every 20 minutes kids would rotate. They would get a standard lesson, a hands on activity and then a computer center that links to that center."

McLaughlin lead the summer enrichment program and says she turned games and fun into learning; an experience that a lot of the kids had missed out on over the last year.

"Most of the kids that come here to Fairgrounds they didn't go to school," she says, "they were remote learners."

She says that the students who participated in the program flourished. 

"The first 30 kids I got their levels and at the end of the 8 weeks I assessed them again," says McLaughlin, "and it showed 70% growth in reading levels. We were just looking to combat the summer slide!"

"It showed that if presented the opportunity to learn, they want to learn," says Boys & Girls Club of Rockford President and CEO Chip Stoner.

Stoner says the success of the pilot program was unlike anything the organization has seen before.

"We wanted to prevent the summer learning loss and stop that, and we did accomplish that, but also the kids had fun," he says.

"They were engaged and we are going to duplicate it at our other locations."

For Fairgrounds Assistant Director Carnell Brown, he spends most of his day helping kids at the club and playing a few games of basketball with them too.

He says he was shocked that kids chose learning over playing in the gym.

"I would walk by the gym, no kids, walk by the classroom, full of kids," says Brown.

"I was a Boys & Girls Club kid and I know what these kids are all about and it shocked me like 'wow.' I never these kids would love this program."

"We want our kids to love learning," says McLaughlin, "and so many of them have bad school experiences for whatever reason. But that is what we really wanted was for them to love learning."

Making a difference in the lives and educations of our communities youth.

During the academic year the program is not running, but the Boys & Girls Club of Rockford is providing a variety of after school programs for kids at its four locations. 

Helping students continue their academic growth and providing them with guidance and support.

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