For 6 weeks this summer 181 children who could not afford to go to a summer camp participated in Takoma Park Lunch and Learn. The program provides free breakfast and lunch and lots of fun summer activities. There were trips to the Piney Branch pool for swimming classes. There was a Lunch and Learn intramural competitive basketball game where they enjoyed popcorn, made signs and banners, and made up cheers to support their teams. There were arts and crafts activities and a chess club. Campers also celebrated the 5th year of Lunch and Learn with a cook-out at a Sligo Creek park. There were also special guest visits, such as McGruff, the crime dog, with the Takoma Park police, and the Volunteer Fire Department, among others.
Every day was also full of learning. Five teachers provided instruction in math and
reading three days a week. Every day the children used chrome books donated by Republic Restaurant, and books donated by the Institute for the Study of Human and other local residents to improve their math and reading skills. More than 93% of the elementary school children either maintained or improved math and reading abilities over the course of the camp. Middle school and high school youth also learned leadership skills as assistant camp counselors, and earned service learning hours.
On the last day at the annual Parent’s Night event included special presentations prepared by campers, brief presentations by honored guests, poetry, music, awards, and refreshments. Special congratulations and appreciation go to Camp Director, Jacquette Frazier, and Doris Duarte, Assistant Director.
This year the Lunch and Learn summer youth program was held at Takoma Academy (located at 8120 Carroll Ave in Takoma Park, MD) from June 26, 2017 – August 2, 2017. CHEER acted as the fiscal agent. Major funding for Lunch and Learn came from the City of Takoma Park and a Montgomery County Executive Collaboration Grant, and the residents of Takoma Park who stepped forward when funding for the full camp looked short. Other funding support came from the Takoma Foundation and Community Preservation and Development Corporation.