FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Contact: Mayor’s Office of Communications, 415-554-6131
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San Francisco, CA— Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced that the City is expanding summer youth programs and opportunities through partnerships with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), Department of Children Youth and their Families (DCYF), Recreation and Park Department (RPD), and the San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) to keep youth engaged and learning over the 2011 summer months. The last day of public school is May 27, 2011.
“Offering meaningful and engaging learning opportunities for our City’s youth during the summer months is critical to supporting families in our communities,” said Mayor Lee. “In addition, the programming we are announcing today will help ensure that our young people will continue to receive the education they need to succeed in school and in their future.”
Mayor Lee helped secure $250,000 for summer school in San Francisco this year, covering the summer salaries of 30 SFUSD teachers and giving up to 900 ninth-grade students who failed English or algebra a second chance to prevent them from falling further behind and dropping out. A new SFUSD policy requires every student to pass all courses required for admission to a State university, starting with this year’s freshmen class. Due to budget cuts, SFUSD had only been able to offer summer programs for special education students and those in the juvenile justice system as well as classes for high school seniors who needed only a few more credits to graduate. DCYF, which funds summer programs across the City, identified unused funds at a time when school districts across the State have cut back or eliminated summer school to cover budget shortfalls.
Through special grants, SFUSD has stepped up summer school offerings, including the Superintendent’s Zone Summer Learning Academy with nine school sites integrating youth development and academic programs. Community partners for the Zone Summer Learning Academy include Aim High, Edgewood Children’s Services, Bay Area Community Resources, Jamestown Community Center, Mission Graduates, and First5 San Francisco. High school students will be able to earn credits, learn about college and have academic enrichment opportunities. Incoming kindergarteners will have a transition camp.
SFUSD is also partnering with City College of San Francisco to offer English classes to 250 new immigrants this summer.
“While I did once hear that ‘summer school’ was an oxymoron, the summer months are just as important for learning as the school year. Piecing together every possible resource, we have created a web of summer options for San Francisco’s children,” said SFUSD Superintendent Carlos Garcia. “I want to thank the Mayor, DCYF and Coleman Advocates for making sure that youth who are most at risk of dropping out are getting a chance to catch up.”
DCYF funds a variety of summer programs for children and youth of all ages citywide. In addition to year-round child care and family resource center programs, DCYF dedicates $3 million in funds for summer-specific programming for students in Kindergarten to Grade 8at 62 sites. These programs alone – which are designed to meet the needs of working families by providing full day programming and to help boost children’s learning through fun, engaging enrichment and recreation activities, will serve about 7,000 youth this summer at school and community sites. DCYF also funds 53 programs that provide teens with enrichment, leadership and youth employment opportunities. Some of the largest youth employment programs DCYF funds for youth ages 14 to 21 include the Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP) (450 slots), YouthWorks (170 slots), Workreaction (120 slots). In addition to these services, all 63 violence prevention and intervention programs funded by DCYF will be operating this summer to provide prevention and intervention services to youth and young adults, perpetrators and victims of violence between the ages of 13 to 24 years old. These services offer an array of summer planned activities to keep individuals engaged in positive lifestyles. Community based organizations, such as the Community Response Networks, and city departments are also working diligently to finalize a summer plan to assure a safer San Francisco in Summer 2011. Families, youth and the public can find out more about these services and more at San Francisco’s official family resource site at SFKids.org, which is funded by DCYF.
For the 14th Year, DCYF’s Summer Food program will be offering free lunches to youth across 80 sites between June 6 through August 5, 2011. All approved sites are within walking distance of a school where 50 percent or more of the children enrolled qualify for free or reduced-price meals. An average of 5,000 meals will be served daily across various neighborhoods throughout the city. Kid Chow is the newly selected food vendor, and offers a culturally diverse menu using 75 percent local suppliers, and serves primarily organic, hormone free, and free range food products. DCYF is also continuing its successful partnership with SF Food Bank to provide snacks to summer programs citywide. DCYF plans to outreach to the community about these efforts through the school district, city agencies, and community organizations, and families can find out site locations by calling 3-1-1 or 2-1-1, or at SFKids.org.
“Summer is a critical time for our children and youth and DCYF has worked hard to ensure that they have quality opportunities that foster their learning, health and growth,” said DCYF Director Maria Su. “DCYF provides millions of dollars in funding to community-based organizations across the city who offer a variety of summer program options, from summer camps to leadership programs for teen to youth jobs.”
RPD has stepped up and expanded its summer day camp programs, an addition increase of 15% over last summer, offering kids more than 67 different types of camp with over 15,000 camp slots available including 47 aftercare camps. RPD offers a variety of camps, from traditional outdoor camps to new offerings like science camp, aquatics camp and an urban adventures camp. Art camps, tennis camps and even a cooking camp are also available. RPD also has a robust youth scholarship program to ensure that no child is turned away regardless of the ability, or inability, to pay. RPD and San Francisco Housing Authority will partner to offer housing residents reduced or no-cost camps.
This year’s camps include: Camp Mather which serves 1,150 families during the summer providing them a family camp experience; Camp Gourmet where campers will learn basic cooking skills from skilled and accomplished chefs, interpret recipes, develop meal planning skills, learn the true meaning of nutrition; Arts Camp-Dance Video and World Dance, an intensive art making camp where kids can explore and develop their artistic abilities in art, dance, music, theater & technology lead by talented art specialists; and Digital Storytelling & Photo Exploration Camp where campers will be taught by certified instructors to develop digital story lines through photos and other multi-media options.
This summer RPD will be hosting and facilitating a 4 day 3 night overnight outdoor eco-experience camp for at-risk and in-risk youth at Camp Mather from August 25- 29. The importance of exposing our most vulnerable youth to outdoor environments and nature is a responsibility that should not be overlooked. Last year, RPD sent staff and at-risk/in-risk youth to the State Parks Outdoor Youth Connection program in an effort to teach local youth how to lead outdoor trips and projects. Training youth from under-served socio economically challenged urban areas will teach them to be outdoor leaders and lead to employment in outdoor programs and services.
“Our camps are traditionally some of the most popular programs in the City,” said Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “We are so proud of the quality, variety, and innovation of our camps, and this year we are excited to offer San Francisco families an excellent alternative to summer school.”
For more RPD information, call 415-831-2700 or 3-1-1 or go to sfrecpark.org.