Why Summer is Crucial for Youth Development

Summer Youth in San Diego
San Diego is full of opportunities for youth to continue their growth and development in a variety of ways throughout the summer, many of which are established and supported thanks to the generosity of The San Diego Foundation donors.

With Memorial Day behind us and summer unofficially here, that can only mean one thing – the school year is almost over. As a mother, I’m always reminded what that means for our young people.

For the 729,000+ youth that live in San Diego, summer is a time to step away from the rigors of the classroom and enjoy other opportunities in the community.

But that doesn’t mean learning and development take a break in June, July and August.

In today’s environment learning begins from the moment our children wake up to the moment they go to sleep. And that is never truer than during the summer months.

San Diego is full of opportunities for youth to continue their growth and development in a variety of ways throughout the summer, many of which are established and supported thanks to the generosity of The San Diego Foundation donors.

Programs like the San Diego Air & Space Museum Summer Camps and the San Diego Public Library Reading Program allow youth to play, learn, design, explore and discover. And this is why philanthropy is so important.

Without these initiatives, young people would miss out on the chance to experience the many benefits of summer programs.

This is especially true for underserved, low-income youth. In San Diego County, 18.9 percent of children ages 0-17 live in families with incomes below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) who do not always have access to academic resources and development opportunities during summer months.

As philanthropists, we can play a critical, supportive role to ensure that summer programs propel underserved students ahead.

According to research from the Wallace Foundation, many students lose knowledge and skills during summer vacation. After the summer, students perform, on average, one month behind where they left off in the spring. And while all students lose some ground, this hits underserved students the most. When compounded year over year, this become a key factor in the achievement gap among young adults later in life.

As philanthropists, we can play a critical, supportive role to ensure that summer programs propel underserved students ahead. Access and cost should never be a barrier standing in the way of positive youth development.

The San Diego nonprofit community is rich with traditional and nontraditional learning opportunities for all young people on summer vacation, including the 18.9 percent living below the FPL.

To reach every young person in San Diego, these programs rely on the support of donors to maintain and grow their impact.

This summer, I encourage you to consider making a gift to one of the many local nonprofit organizations helping our youth continue to grow and develop into thriving adults. Giving to these endowment funds will ensure long term sustainability of youth programs in San Diego.

Or give to our Youth Development Fund and we’ll combine your gift with others and make grants where most needed.

Make a Difference in a Child’s Life


About Kathlyn Mead

Kathlyn Mead

President and CEO of The San Diego Foundation, Kathlyn Mead has been actively involved in community throughout her career. National Medical Fellowships honored Kathlyn with its 2015 Leadership in Healthcare award. Charles R. Drew University recognized her commitment to community service with its 2011 Medal of Honor. Mead was named a 2008 Woman of Distinction by the University of Southern California, received San Diego’s 2004 KGTV-10 News Organizational Leadership Award, and is also a 2003 YWCA of San Diego TWIN awardee.

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