Jones County Community Foundation grant supports summer learning
The Jones County Community Foundation is still working to help children and families thrive during the pandemic. This summer, a grant from the Community Foundation’s disaster relief fund helped provide weekly activities for hundreds of youth through Jones County Extension’s Summer Science Discovery Camp in a Bag.
“Thanks to support from a variety of partners, we were able to expand the impact of our summer program this year,” said Jennifer Fisher, County Extension director. All youth enrolled at no cost to their families, and many participants were from families who were previously not engaged with Jones County Extension. Organizers also expanded the age range from kindergarten through fifth grade to kindergarten through high school.
“My daughter loves this,” said one parent. “It was hard for her to pick a favorite with all the fun activities.”
Funding for the following programs was provided by the Community Foundation; the cities of Anamosa, Cascade, Monticello, Olin, Oxford Junction and Wyoming; Jones County DECAT; and Dupaco Credit Union:
- Summer Discovery – More than 125 youth in kindergarten through fifth grade joined a six-week program to keep them reading all summer featuring books, crafts and projects for five days each week, plus two Facebook Live sessions.
- Where We Live – Nearly 60 youth in fifth through eighth grade spent five weeks learning about Jones County and the state of Iowa through activity bags.
- Water Connects Us All – This one-time session provided 44 youth in grades four through 12 with lessons in watershed, wetlands and water quality.
- On Their Own and Okay – Six weeks of lessons provided 38 families of children in fourth through sixth grade with tips for emergencies and home safety, directions for hands-on family activities to teach children to handle boredom without technology, and a parent guide for supporting children staying at home on their own for short periods of time.
On Wednesdays from April through July, 400 more bags were distributed at Jones County libraries with materials for two children to complete a themed project. Additionally, 121 families received two bags per month from May through July with themed activities, meal menus and challenges for a family adventure.
“Thank you for putting together these bags,” said a grateful parent. “My girls found it very fun and looked forward to doing all the activities.”