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Summer Advantage: Indiana Youth Answer President's Call

by Mary B.

“Service is a core component of building the esteem and values of Indiana Youth Answer President's Callchildren. By serving this summer, we hope our young scholars and their families will make an ongoing commitment to volunteering throughout the year,” says Mary Elizabeth Bruce, Founding Director of Major Initiatives for Summer Advantage USA.

Summer Advantage USA, a national non-profit which provides summer learning opportunities for youth in grades K - 8, led its young scholars through a process of identifying community challenges and implementing service projects. This summer, over 1,000 Summer Advantage USA instructors, students and their families participated in activities including beautification projects at area parks and donation collections for active duty soldiers overseas. Here’s what some of the younger students had to say about their projects.

“Service projects teach us to help others. I felt proud when we were helping others. We helped our community by donating goods to the Salvation Army to send to soldiers and families who need them…Everyone should give back to the community because it makes the world a better place.” –Guadalupe

“On Friday, my class and I did community service. We went to a park and picked up trash. We did it because we wanted to help the earth and make it a better place. I felt very sad because just seeing all this trash made me sad. We could make the community better by throwing the trash in the trash can and not littering.” –Lindsay

“There are people that are homeless because of natural disasters and because they lost their jobs. We want to help them until they can get on their own again and let them know we haven’t forgotten about them.” –Courtney

“My class and I visited Harbor Side Nursing Home. We learned a lot doing community service. The people were nice and I was sad for them because they all had problems. I will remember them. I want to be a doctor.” –Kenadi

“This summer my class made cards for the Army. We collected toothbrushes, toothpaste, and Q-tips for the troops. These items will be given to the Salvation Army’s Operation Compassion. I feel sending items is important because they need them to live. The cards tell them thank you for fighting for our country. –Alandra

“Summer Advantage USA is teaching me about community service. President Obama once said in a speech that he promises us that “our lives will be richer and our country will be stronger” if we participate in community service projects. During our service day activities we made bracelets, tie-dye t-shirts, and get-well cards. Some kids picked up trash at Carson Park. When we were talking about President Obama, I learned that President Obama has done community service all his life. I feel more humble and aware of helping others.” –Ryan

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Summer Advantage USA is a national non-profit organization providing elementary and middle school students with research-based summer learning programs focused on academic gains. Summer Advantage offers summer learning programs encompassing literacy, mathematics, science and extracurricular enrichment. It offers a replicable “locally-owned” model and strives to institutionalize that model by impacting public policy.

Summer Advantage USA was launched in January 2009 with the support of the Mind Trust. In its inaugural summer, Summer Advantage is serving nearly 1,000 children in Decatur Township and Indianapolis, Indiana. http://www.summeradvantage.org/

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