Children in the fourth year of Summer S.A.I.L., an initiative of the Black River United Way, are celebrating completion of a six-week program designed to stop a “summer slide” in learning.
“In the first three years, we’ve seen tremendous improvement,” said Yolanda McCray, BRUW director of community impact, and lead person for the Science and Inquiry Learning program.
S.A.I.L. enables kindergarten through 2nd grade children to not fall behind over the summer. About 108 children are in the program.
On Tuesday, McCray and Lucy Woodhouse, executive director of BRUW, participated in a closing ceremony at Sampit Elementary School, between Georgetown and Andrews, and ceremonies were planned for today at McDonald Elementary in Georgetown and Pleasant Hill Elementary in the Carvers Bay area.
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By design, Summer S.A.I.L. was scaled back to the three schools and the non-profit I Can Kids, Inc., directed by Mary Rice-Crenshaw, at Sampit Elementary. In 2016, the program also had sites in Williamsburg County, which is served by BRUW, along with Georgetown County.
“Williamsburg has a lot of restructuring going on in the schools,” Woodhouse said.
The numbers from last summer illustrate the positive impact – the success – of the program. In 2016, a total of 174 children were in S.A.I.L., and 98 percent maintained their levels, while 54 percent increased their reading levels.
Improving elementary reading levels is a major focus of Black River United Way, and also for United Way of Horry County. BRUW invested $125,000, and that was leveraged to more than $700,000, including in-kind support, from nonprofits, school districts and federal grants, including $192,000 from Americorps for Growing Great Readers, which put 30 tutors in five elementary schools in Georgetown and Williamsburg counties.
When school starts next month, Growing Great Readers will have 24 tutors in five Georgetown County elementary schools (McDonald, Sampit, Pleasant Hill, Browns Ferry, Andrews) plus programs of two nonprofits, I Can Kids and Teach My People. The Americorps grant provides stipends for tutors, plus education awards. Many tutors are high school seniors. Nine tutors will focus on Summer S.A.I.L. in 2018. Tamara Greene is the director of Growing Great Readers. One of the total 35 people works with parents and the in-school tutors.
Earlier this month, BRUW received $20,000 from Tidelands Health, which operates three hospitals and nearly 50 outpatient locations, from Andrews to North Myrtle Beach. Woodhouse said BRUW will use the Tidelands Health donation to leverage matching funds.
Black River United Way serves Georgetown and Williamsburg counties. The main office is at 515 Front St., Georgetown.
Phone | (843) 546-6317
Mailing address | P.O. Box 1065, Georgetown, SC 29442
Online | www.blackriveruw.org