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Colorado Governor Hickenlooper proclaims Summer Advantage Day

Proclamation Honors 750 Roaring Fork Students’ Graduation Day.

ASPEN, CO— Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has proclaimed Friday, August 1st, as “Summer Advantage Day” in recognition of the importance of the summer learning program for Roaring Fork Valley youth.

The date coincides with the graduation of nearly 750 Roaring Fork Valley students who participated in this summer’s academic and life enrichment program. Summit 54 sponsors the Summer Advantage program in the Roaring Fork Valley in cooperation with the RE-1 School District.

Basalt, Crystal River and Sopris elementary schools will be hosting celebratory graduation ceremonies for scholars, parents and teachers. The public is welcome to attend. Scholars will perform theatre productions, sing songs, and display artwork and writing samples created during the Summer Advantage program. Graduation festivities begin at 9 a.m. at all three schools.

“Summer Advantage is vital for Roaring Fork Valley children to avoid summer learning loss,” said Colorado Lt Governor Joe Garcia last week. “Summer Advantage tracks each student’s advancement through the program and has a proven record of advancing students 2-3 months in reading and math in just five weeks. This program completely reverses summer learning loss. It is tremendous that Summit 54 sponsors Summer Advantage with the RE-1 School District, making it possible for 750 RFV students to obtain academic and life enrichment programing during the summer.”

This is the third summer that the 5-week program has been available to Valley youth. The free program includes breakfast and lunch, bus transportation, weekly speakers and field trips. Students spend the morning reading, writing and studying math, and in the afternoon participate in creative and learning-based enrichment projects. On Fridays scholars enjoy guest speakers and field trips. Each school site also completes a community service project.

The program began in 2012 and served 410 Kindergarten through 3rd grade students at Basalt and Sopris and Glenwood Springs elementary schools. In three years, the program has expanded to serve 750 scholars K through 4th grade and added a new site at Crystal River Elementary School. Summit 54 has also been working with the Aspen Community Foundation’s Cradle to Career Initiative and is providing meals for the new Jump Start pre-school summer program through Summer Advantage’s Summer Service Summer Food Grant.

Partial funding for the Summer Advantage program is provided to Summit 54 through a Mile High United Way Social Innovation Fund grant for early literacy. Summit 54 is also the recipient of a Colorado Department of Education/United States Department of Agriculture grant that helps cover the majority of the breakfast and lunch expense. Additional funding has been awarded to Summit 54 from Aspen Community Foundation, Aspen Thrift Store, Charlson Foundation, Fullerton Family Charitable Foundation, and Dornick Foundation as well as many other individuals in the Valley. “We’re grateful for the generosity and support of the program from Valley residents,” says Terri Caine, Co-Founder of Summit 54. “However, we must increase fundraising in order to continue the program at present levels.” Those wishing to contribute to the Summer Advantage program in the Roaring Fork Valley are encouraged to mail donations to Summit 54 at 60 Wildwood Lane, Aspen, CO 81611.

Summer Advantage USA is a nationally acclaimed, summer learning initiative aimed at preventing summer learning loss and improving academic success. National research shows that summer learning loss’ attributes to 66% of the achievement gap in America. Summer learning is designed to meet the needs of children. It is through programs like Summer Advantage and foundations such as Summit 54 that we can help strengthen our children’s academic skills and engage them in expanded learning activities over the summer while supporting and benefitting children, families and communities.

For more information on Summit 54 or Summer Advantage Roaring Fork contact Nicole Tarumianz at 970.618.0997 or or visit