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Boys and Girls Club launches summer 'Brain Gain' initiative

By Nadine Wimmer | Posted - Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 9:05am

SALT LAKE CITY — Math Monday is new to the summer lineup at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake. But if the club's summer programming more closely resembles their school schedule, kids don't see it that way.

"I don't think that the kids really know that they're learning," said Mike Harmond of the Boys and Girls Club.

And they might actually enjoy it.

"The first thing that I like about the Boys and Girls Club is the reading and math and subtracting," said one boy who participates in the summer program.

The Boys and Girls Club has long been a safe place for kids to go during summer and after school for supervised activities. But this summer, leaders wanted to up the ante.

"We like to have fun with a purpose," said CEO LeAnn Salvidar. "So we're trying to reinforce learning in the club with homework help time and new learning initiatives."

Their goal is to reduce a problem that plagues many children during the school break — summer learning loss. Many kids lose up to a third of what they learned during the school year when they spend summer with no learning opportunities.

"For low-income kids, summer learning loss is more pronounced and it compounds year over year," Salvidar added.

So for their 1,000 students, the Greater Salt Lake club is making this a summer of "Brain Gain."

Academics combined with games and field trips will ensure kids go back to school in the fall ready to learn, which makes these final weeks of summer important to these kids.

"It's going to mean that they are one step closer to having a great future," Harmond said. "They're going to be more prepared to go back to elementary school, junior high and high school so they can graduate on time and go to college."

The kids know it's important, but primarily, it's entertaining.

"Well I'm coming here and doing something other than just sitting on the couch or something," said one boy.

And at the very least, amid all this new homework, he's not complaining.

"My brain's not gonna fry," the boy added.

Deanie Wimmer anchors the KSL News and helps lead the Read Today program. contact her at

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