The dawn of summer time translates into two simple words: free time. In this respect, the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) launches several summer programs that will allow youth residents to have a safe and active summer, while promoting healthy living and education through a series of fun activities.
The summer enrichment programs will be housed at the Eisenhower Community Center in Northeast El Paso located at 5628 Eisenhower.
“The youth in our communities are always a top priority because they are our future,” expresses HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon. “Especially during this time of year when schools let out, our summer programs fill a void by offering a safe place to learn, develop healthy eating habits, and of course have fun all while giving parents peace of mind on the safety of their children.”
Summer programs such as the ones being offered at the Eisenhower Community are important for children and youth— especially children from disadvantaged and low-income communities. These programs provide enriching experiences that help the children avoid summer learning loss.
According to Summer Learning online, student achievement remain relatively constant during the school year, but the gap widens significantly during the summer with low-income youth losing two to three months in reading and math while their higher-income peers make slight gains. Low-income youth may also lose access to healthy meals throughout the summer.
Six out of every seven students who receive free and reduced-price lunches lose access to healthy foods when the school year ends.
This is why HACEP’s Eisenhower Community Summer Enrichment Program takes hold of what is typically seen as 90 days’ worth of down time to three months full of fun, healthy and active learning.
Resident youth 18 years and younger will have the opportunity to receive a free, healthy lunch from 12:30-1:30 p.m. now through August 18. El Pasoan’s Fighting Hunger Food Bank will host free nutrition classes for children eight through 13 years old every Wednesday from 1:15-2:15 p.m.to ensure youth are developing healthy eating habits.
The YWCA will be hosting free art, science and outdoor activities for youth ages 11 to 16 years old every day from June 19 to June 28, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Project Vida will also extend their summer hours from 12 to 6 p.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday to host extracurricular activities for youth as well as help with summer school homework.
There is something for everyone this summer, as even parents can take advantage of free Zumba classes every Monday and Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m.