Students Start the School Year Strong Thanks to the Summer STARS Program in Sacramento

Partnership with Community Housing Opportunities Corporation (CHOC), Dairy Council of California and United Way Aims to Fight the 'Summer Slide'
By: HoytOrg
FAIRFIELD, Calif. - Sept. 22, 2021 - PRLog -- Community Housing Opportunities Corporation (CHOC), a non-profit, affordable housing developer, has partnered with Dairy Council of California and United Way California Capital Region (UWCCR) to keep CHOC's young residents fed and healthy, as well as focused and engaged with reading while on summer break. Through the Summer STARS program, children and families receive food access and education that focuses on nutrition literacy where families live, work and play, empowering healthier students and stronger communities. Participating school districts include Elk Grove Unified School District and Natomas Unified School District.

Community connection is critical to delivering effective, culturally relevant services. The summer months bring uncertainties for many families as they face food insecurity and a lack of affordable enrichment activities for kids."  Over the summer, low-income students can fall behind by 2-3 months, while middle class students tend to advance by one month.

"Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic school year has brought on learning and achievement gaps for kids. Providing young CHOC residents with continuous learning opportunities like Summer STARS matters and makes a difference," said Terri Smyth, MSW, Director of Family and Youth Services at CHOC. "The impact of multiple organizations like Dairy Council of California, United Way and multiple school districts, leveraging resources will make a tremendous impact on the transition back to the school year and after school programs."

More than 40 students participated in STARS, powered by BookNook, at five CHOC Summer Enrichment Programs. The youth participated in 58 hours of summer tutoring, which resulted in a total of 272 literacy tutoring sessions.

"Providing children with access to nutritious foods and enriching activities like nutrition education and summer reading enables them to fuel their bodies and minds while school is out of session," said Tracy Mendez, registered dietitian nutritionist and program director of nutrition education at Dairy Council of California. "When students learn how to make healthy eating decisions and experience healthy meals that include the recommended servings of milk and dairy, fruit and vegetables, whole grains and proteins, it helps them gain lifelong knowledge and confidence in their ability to nourish their bodies for optimal growth and development."

During summer months when school is out of session, summer meal service fills in the gaps, providing students with access to the nourishing foods they need for optimal growth and development, including milk and dairy, fruit, vegetables, whole grains and protein.

"By fueling students' bodies, their minds are also fueled to learn, with evidence showing improved levels of academic achievement and performance, behavior, cognitive skills and attitudes, and overall health," adds Mendez.

To find out more about CHOC, click here:
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Page Updated Last on: Sep 22, 2021
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