ROCHESTER, Wash. - In Washington's smallest towns, students' options for
learning and meals that are normally part of the school day can
disappear during the summer months. But this year, 17 rural summer
programs will get a hand from School's Out Washington
. They are
recipients of "Feed Your Brain" grants, to allow more kids to attend
programs that keep their skills sharp until they're back in school.
Gabrielle Davis is program manager for ROOF Community Services
a grant recipient in Rochester. In the Thurston County town of about
2,000, ROOF also runs a food bank and provides some emergency services
to families. Davis says the needs this year are high.
"A lot of times, it's easier to see poverty in more urban communities,
and it's a lot harder in rural communities because it's a little more
hidden. So, it's great that they're reaching out to the rural
communities in Washington, so that those kids can also have
Danny McDonald is superintendent of the Touchet School District near
Walla Walla, in an unincorporated area with fewer than 300 children,
many of them lower-income. He says, particularly in this economy, grants
like "Feed Your Brain" come to the rescue.
"We're a small, rural school - and summer school for us is important,
but it's one of those issues that we really need help on, because we
don't have any extra money to take care of our summer school program."
A list of "Feed Your Brain" grant recipients is online at www.schoolsoutwashington.org
In a new national survey by state, the Afterschool Alliance
found four out of five kids in Washington are not enrolled in summer
learning programs. The reasons are primarily cost and, in some areas, a
lack of programs - although almost 80 percent of parents surveyed said
they would support public funding for summer learning. The Afterschool
Alliance study is online at www.afterschoolalliance.org