From Our Team
Posted on May 16, 2022 by Sandra Day
Students are beginning to count down the days until summer vacation begins. Parents are too, with many trying to ensure their child has something to do over the summer break, but most importantly they want a safe and healthy environment in which their child can pursue their interests.
As youth begin to leave the rigors of the classroom, parents around the region are looking for ways to keep them engaged. Summer programs offer the perfect opportunity to match what youth want or need over the summer with the ability to learn, grow and stay healthy. For many working parents, summer programs are also a way to ensure there are supervised activities that can keep their children safe.
As advocates and supporters of out-of-school-time summer program providers, we know firsthand that there are many types of programs that give youth something fun and exciting to look forward to and offer parents the peace of mind of knowing that their child is in a safe, supervised environment where they can continue to develop socially and intellectually. Summer programs offer opportunities that help children grow.
A quality out-of-school time, or OST, a program can involve sports, art, dance, cooking, computer programming, or a host of other interests. It can take place every day or once a week, in person or virtual, indoors, or outside. For all their differences, these programs have many things in common: Trusted trained adults to provide coaching and mentorship in a safe place. An established set of programming or curricula with proven results. Opportunities for young people to learn and grow together. And, in many cases, a sliding scale of fees so that they are accessible to all.
In the Borderplex region, these programs have something else in common, too. They are members of the BOOST Network. The network serves a dual purpose. For OST providers, it offers a wealth of resources and an opportunity to exchange best practices with other local OST programs.
For parents, the BOOST Network is a one-stop shop to find quality OST programs in El Paso, southern New Mexico, or Ciudad Juárez. Through the “Find a Program” tool on the BOOST website, parents can browse programs to find one that best suits their children’s needs and interests. To make things even easier, BOOST just released its Summer Program Guide, a round-up of quality OST offerings in our region.
BOOST is housed at the United Way of El Paso County and supported by a grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Healthy Kids Initiative. Our institutions are committed to the long-term well-being of people in our region, and we know that a healthy, engaged community starts with healthy, engaged youth.
We also know that research shows that youth who participate in quality OST programs are more likely to stay in school, stay out of trouble with the law, and get involved in civic life. OST programs help students develop healthy habits from exercise, to eating, to studying, and they help kids grow in confidence and ability. Through these learning opportunities, young people can expand their sense of what’s possible – about technology, the arts, the world, each other and themselves.
To learn more about local summer programs, check out BOOST’s website or tune in to one of the Network’s Spring into Summer video profile. Each of these segments features different OST programs in the region and gives parents the chance to learn more about summer options for their kids.
PDNHF Initiative: Healthy Kids
Foundation Staff: Sandra Day
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