United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties (UWMOC) announces the approval of $173,000 in grants for its Summer Literacy initiative. Low-income children often experience the summer slide, where they lose the equivalent of two to three months in reading achievement over the summer while their higher-income peers tend to make slight gains. To prevent this summer learning loss, UWMOC is expanding access for at-risk students in grades K-3 to high-quality, holistic learning and enrichment opportunities.
“The summer months are vital to a child’s education,” said Tom Hayes, Chair of UWMOC’s Success in the Early Years subcommittee. “Without exposure to the types of opportunities that our summer literacy program offers, disadvantaged youth can be nearly three grade levels behind their peers by the end of fifth grade. Research shows that high-quality programs can improve reading and math skills, motivation and relationships with peers and adults.”
Through a competitive grant process, UWMOC has identified and partnered with the following organizations throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties to develop opportunities for youth throughout the summer: AMP Zone, Collier Youth Services, Community YMCA, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, Monmouth Day Care Center, O.C.E.A.N. Inc. and the Ocean County YMCA. Students will have access to books and literacy activities, community learning experiences, physical activity, food and more.
Summer literacy programs will serve youth whose families are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) -- earning more then the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living. According to the 2018 United Way ALICE Report for New Jersey, 39% of households in Monmouth and Ocean counties are struggling to afford basic needs as the cost of living increases and wages lag behind -- up 4% from the 2016 report.