"Yes, summer learning is really important, but we really want families to be in it together," said Akshara Vivekananthanand, United Way's assistant director of early childhood and summer learning, "and I think that's what we're seeing all around the country, especially in terms of the messaging and mission around national summer learning week and beyond."
Kids at the club Wednesday took home special kits filled with learning materials and things to play with: puzzles, crayons, jump ropes, and, of course, books.
"[It's] just to keep kids and families interactive and busy over the summer and to keep reading front and center," said Angela Zanelli, campaign director of Lehigh Valley Reads, an initiative powered by United Way and Lehigh Valley Public Media.
"Having these kits, I think we're going to be a value to the families," Bowles added. "Parents [who] are still working from home are going to be able to use them with their kids, and for those who aren't, it gives them something new to do over the summer."
The goal is to hand out more than 15,000 of the kits over the summer. United Way prepared 70 to distribute at Wednesday's giveaway. It’s one way to reach students and their families at a time when the future is uncertain.
*adapted from story by Stephen Jiwanmall, journalist, PBS39