Faith Beckley, Site Director, Columbine
MSW, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver 

What makes summer programming important?

For me, summer programming is essential for two main reasons. First, it is an excellent opportunity to build deeper relationships with the youth who attend in the school year and with youth who only participate in the summer. I've been able to see different parts of our school year participant's personalities, which has been awesome. We have several participants who were quiet and more reserved through the school year, but summer has brought out their silly side. Longer days with our kids means a longer amount of time to get to know how special and unique they are! I'm proud to say that every single participant at Columbine has at least one staff member who they trust and have a strong relationship with. Summer programming is also a fun and productive way to spend a summer! 

Through our rigorous programming in literacy and S.T.E.M. our youth return to school more prepared and with a fresher memory of the things they learned in the last school year. We also offer enrichment groups that provide a more traditionally fun time for our youth where they can strengthen skills in the arts, dance, physical education, and theater while incorporating social emotional learning. I think when it comes down to it, summer programming helps keep our kids whole and helps prepare our youth for tomorrow.