St. John United Way helping summer enrichment

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, July 6, 2016

RESERVE — St. John United Way sets aside funds for summer enrichment programs, targeting children who do not have opportunities for enrichment like Disney World vacations.

“We know all children lose some of their educational progress over the summer, but those who do not have enrichment experiences are put even further behind,” St. John United Way Executive Director John Olynick said. “Two years ago, we began opening up small summer enrichment grants for programs serving children in St. John Parish. While the amount of funds available is still modest, we are hoping to grow it as more requests for grants are received.”

United Way has teamed this year with St. John the Baptist Parish to host a one-day STEM (Science, Technology, Engineer and Math) workshop for parish youth.

The event takes place from noon to 3:30 p.m. Monday at REGALA Gym in Reserve. Pre-registration is required, and those ages 5-14 are invited to attend.

Registration is $35, and the first 100 to register early receive a $25 sponsorship from the United Way Foundation.

For more information, contact the St. John Parks and Recreation Department at 985-652-9569, ext. 1241 or 1168.

Outside of the STEM effort, United Way is helping 4-H, Kids on the Move Camp and Boy Scouts with support funding.

Next week’s STEM event features Dr. Calvin Mackie, a former Tulane University engineering professor who founded STEM NOLA to expose, inspire and engage young people to the opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

STEM NOLA Coordinator Tracy Mackie said participants are exposed to modern communication, collaboration and critical thinking skills through hands-on learning activities.

“We do STEM activities all year round,” Mackie said. “With the big push for STEM in the 21st century, we just think it’s important to expose kids to it. We do things with cars and boats and do more then just engineering. There is also math, we do things like teach kids how math applies to kites.”

Mackie said they see great responses from children and normally work with 100 at a time.

As of Friday afternoon, Mackie said there were 90 children registered.