Elected officials honor WYMCA’s Power Scholars

State Representative Harry Lewis, Jr. (R-74) presents Diego Hernandez, a Power Scholar, with a certificate of achievement.

COATESVILLE — On Wednesday, July 26 at Friendship Elementary School, local politicians including State Senator Tom McGarrigle, representing Pennsylvania’s 26th Legislative District; State Representative Harry Lewis, Jr., representing Pennsylvania’s 74th Legislative District; Jesse Stoepker from State Representative Eric Roe’s office, representing Pennsylvania’s 158th Legislative District; and Julia Loehlien from State Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr.’s office, representing Pennsylvania’s 44th District visited the YMCA of Greater Brandywine’s Power Scholars program during the YMCA’s Fourth Annual Advocacy Day. Representative Lewis presented certificates of achievement to the children in the Power Scholars program and the children sung “I believe I can fly.”

Power Scholars is a five-week summer learning program for children, mainly from low-income households, who are entering first or sixth grades. Research indicates that children from low-income households reach kindergarten unprepared and continue to fall behind in school, especially over summer breaks. Without intervention, the achievement and opportunity gap widens, often culminating in low high school and college graduation rates and limited job prospects. Power Scholars is designed to tackle this summer learning loss through rigorous math and reading instruction, while also fostering physical, social and emotional growth through field trips and career exploration.

In addition, children participate in enrichment activities such as swimming lessons. Many of the children have moved from the non-swimmer level to intermediate and even advanced during the five-week program. “It has been amazing to see their growth in confidence and self-esteem. They are so excited each time they advance to a new swim level,” says Pam Lathbury, School Age Childcare Director for the Brandywine YMCA.

The Power Scholars program is offered at no cost to those who qualify, with program funding provided by the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. In addition, both the Coatesville Area School District and the Oxford Area School District have donated space for the program at Friendship Elementary School and Hopewell Elementary respectively. Last year’s program served 82 students, who increased their reading level by a ½ month, as opposed to the usual two month summer learning loss. Due to this success, the program more than doubled in size and is serving 168 students at two sites this year. However, the cost to run the program is approximately $1500 per child and donations are needed to keep the program going next year. To learn more, contact Mary Burns, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer at 610-643-9622, x2153.

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