National Power Scholars Academy Comes to the Seacoast
New Hampshire (July 7, 2021) - The Granite YMCA launched their national Power Scholars program for 50 students on the seacoast at the Dondero Elementary School on July 5th. The first introduction of this free educational, socially, and emotionally based program for elementary students in the seacoast area is being funded by the Portsmouth School Department through federal ESSER III funding (school version of CARES funding). The Granite YMCA Power Scholars program is a six-week full day program that integrates academic learning in mathematics and literacy with enrichment courses in cooking, STEM, nature, physical fitness, and art.
“The Granite YMCA is proud to bring Power Scholars to the seacoast because we know the profound positive impact we will have on the students who participate,” said David Ports, President/CEO The Granite YMCA. “Our six years of experience in Manchester with middle school students has proven that the program helps eliminate summer learning loss, prepares students for the fall academic year and fosters their social and emotional growth,” Ports added.
Jessica Goodine-Riendeau, Association Community Outreach Director, explains, “Power Scholars has been extremely successful in reducing and in some cases eliminating learning loss that students suffer during the summer. In some cases, students experience learning loss even before the academic school year ends, so the addition of three to six months summer learning loss is even more detrimental to their future academic success.” She adds, “This year, due to the pandemic, teachers and Power Coaches fear students are likely entering the program with closer to 18 to 24 months of learning loss, so it is more critical than ever to have a proven community-based program like Power Scholars to offer to students.”
Fifty lucky students on the seacoast from the kindergarten through 4th grade will make up the inaugural class. As part of the program, they will receive the Power Scholars program free of charge and engage in half a day of academic learning as well as half a day of enrichment programming. The enrichment portion of the day will specifically encourage children to have a “voice and choice” in that they will plan their enrichment activities for the coming week. As they engage in those activities, they will then be supported in the process of deciding what they liked individually, and as a group, and how to use that experience and knowledge to plan for the coming week.
This year, the Power Scholars class will be made up of students who were referred into the program by the Portsmouth School District, and the program already has a wait list. The Granite YMCA hopes to expand the program to the Portsmouth Middle School next year to help that age group prepare academically, socially, and emotionally for high school. The program offers students breakfast, lunch and a snack daily thereby also addressing any food insecurity issues that may exist. Once the students complete the program, they are made Granite YMCA members giving them access to the full plethora of Granite YMCA programs and camps.
About The Granite YMCA
As one of the state’s longest standing and most enduring non-profits, The Granite YMCA focuses on youth development, healthy living, social responsibility, and family strengthening. Across the state, its six branches engage 30,000 men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to improve their health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. In 2019, The Granite YMCA provided financial assistance and free services valued at over $1.6 million to 26,189 individuals. To learn more, please visit www.graniteymca.org.