Clouds, cold shouldn't stop you from making summer plans for kid - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Clouds, cold shouldn't stop you from making summer plans for kids

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - When that final bell rings at the end of the school year, kids are typically pretty excited to be out of the classroom. But experts on kids in Sioux City say, that in order for the school year to have done any good, kids have to do more than spend the summer on the couch.

"Most children in lower incomes will lose about two months of reading over the summer months; that becomes cumulative over the years. So by the time they're in middle school, they've lost a full year. Mandy Engel-Cartie, Executive Director of Girls, Inc. said.

Engel-Cartie says they try to combat that by helping kids learn all summer, for a very affordable cost based on income, and are always making it fun.

They use a program called iReady, to tailor the education to each specific student's needs, and monitor their progress. "The girls like it because it's fun, and it feels like playing computer games, but in fact, it's educational," Engel-Cartie said.

The Mary Treglia Community House uses the same software at their summer program, Camp Imagination, to reach out to kids from lower-income and immigrant families. "If you're not using your brain during the summer, your scores are going to go down, no matter what. So for any child, regardless of demographics, it's good for them to be involved in something during the summer," Shannon Schroeder, Program Director for Camp Imagination said.

And when kids are staying active, it combats other dangers the laid-back season of summer can present. "It's not like the old days, where a quiet summer, maybe you were playing outside with your friends. So many children are sedentary during the summer, so you see issues with weight gain," Engel-Cartie said.

And those involved with Sioux City's summer programs say promoting student development, even during the summer, is gratifying for everyone involved.

"Girls that started as a six-year-old, and they're now growing up and they're a 10- or 11-year-old, and they're still with us, there's new things that they're learning, and you see them develop, and you hear their stories throughout time as well. That's really fun," Ortiz said.

Some parents may be concerned that the programs will be too vigorous, or even too expensive, to make the extra summer care worthwhile. But, one Siouxland mom says she wouldn't trade her three daughter's experience at Girls, Inc. for the world.

The programs at Girls, Inc., she says, help her kids care about doing their homework and staying up to date on class work. She says that knowing they have a safe place to go to learn, play, and stay active is invaluable in the summer time. "My daughters like it. They're doing different activities, they go swimming and have class and computer, they love coming over here," Claudia Salcido, Mother of 3 Girls, Inc. students said.

Girls, Inc. and the Mary Treglia Community House both figure their costs for summer programming based on the scale the Sioux City Community School District uses to establish free and reduced lunch for their students.

If you have questions, you can contact Girls, Inc. at 712-252-1088 or click here for more information.

The Mary Treglia Community House is available for questions, too, at 712-258-5137 or click here for their website.

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