I hope you are all doing well out there. When I look back at the last year, it feels a bit like the pandemic was a very slow moving tornado. It caused us to hunker down, while it tore apart parts of our lives. The skies are starting to clear and now we are picking up the pieces and thinking about rebuilding.
One area that needs urgent attention is the education of our kids. Despite heroic efforts by school staff across the country, a recent article from McKinsey & Company estimates that most students will be 5-9 months behind where they would normally be by the end of this school year. These losses are particularly significant in mathematics. Many students have also become disengaged from school, and higher rates of depression and anxiety among our youth have been observed.
We need to pull together as a community to reverse this learning loss, and that is exactly what our local school districts and nonprofits are doing. An informal group, currently called the Summer Learning Collaborative, has formed to makes plans to help our southwest Colorado students in summer 2021. United Way of Southwest Colorado is sharing our skills and expertise to coordinate the group, set goals, seek funding, and foster collaboration to help us provide the best for our kids.
The focus of this group is to EXPAND and ENHANCE EXISTING summer programs to reach more students and provide what they need. The efforts will include academic advancement, emotional and behavioral support, and enrichment and recreation to boost engagement.
Stay tuned to learn more about how this effort develops. We expect to have an exciting announcement in a couple of weeks about people power to support this effort.
Lynn UrbanPresident & CEO
United Way of Southwest Colorado