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Replacing Lazy Summer Days with Summer Advantage USA

by The United We Serve Team

Summer Advantage USA is celebrating a successful summer of activity, encouraging over 3000 children in grades K-8 to replace lazy summer days with:

  • Physical enrichment activities for at least 60 minutes per day
  • Rigorous reading and academic programs
  • A healthy breakfast and lunch

Five days a week for 5 weeks, 450 outstanding educators, teachers, college students, and community members, committed their time to helping children read and move.

Summer Advantage USA CEO Earl Martin Phalen noted, "We are honored to be one of the few United We Serve programs to be featured in Time Magazine. First Lady Michelle Obama has done an excellent job of motivating communities to help children read and exercise."

Incorporated into each day is at least 60 minutes of creative physical fitness, which included learning traditional Native American dances.

Elizabeth Tollefson, a Summer Advantage USA teacher, remembers this special day:

“Summer Advantage was fortunate to have the American Indian Center of Indiana to teach our scholars about the different groups of Native Americans and tribal culture. The scholars loved listening to the music and seeing their traditional garments, but the big surprise came when they took the scholars outside to teach them traditional Native American dances! They had the scholars form a giant circle and taught them different movements to the beat of their instruments. We had many parents that day who also participated in the traditional dancing. It was such a unique way to bring history, music, and physical fitness to our scholars!”

Volunteering is an important part of the struggle against childhood obesity and summer learning loss, and Summer Advantage USA is answering the President’s call to engage in community service this summer.

“In these tough economic times, we need volunteers more than ever,” said Phalen. “Summer Advantage USA is facing increasing demands for services, and volunteers can help us fill this growing need. We are pleased to join this national effort and thank the President for making this call to service.”

It’s not too late -- you can join the effort, visit to access service opportunities near you. To learn more about Summer Advantage USA, visit their website

As Phalen said, “everyone has something to give, and summer is a great time to get involved.”

Click here to read more Exercise stories.

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