Inspiring Minds mixes summer learning activities with fun

WARREN — To help local children retain what they learned last school year, Inspiring Minds is offering a six-week enrichment program to Warren city school students that includes an educational and instructional component as well as recreational activities.

Renda White, K-8 coordinator for Inspiring Minds, said 252 children in grades three to eight at Jefferson, McGuffey, Willard and Lincoln schools in Warren are involved. She said the program has been offered for the past eight summers.

She said each grade level focuses on its own theme. For example, third-graders are focusing on vision boards to set goals for the upcoming school year, while eighth-graders focus on career planning and have taken trips to local colleges and universities.

Mickel Franklin, site coordinator at McGuffey School, said seventh- and eighth-graders have been learning financial literacy with representatives from 717 Credit Union.

White and Franklin said the program also includes recreational opportunities for children including swim lessons, bowling, kickball, flag football, soccer and volleyball. Franklin said each Friday the students from each of the four schools play against each other.

White said a theme this summer is Africa with a focus on African dance, art, and inventors.

Jessica Winters, program administrator, said a program is also being held this summer for 50 high school students at Warren G. Harding High School.

At the end of the program on July 24 at Harding, participants will showcase what they have learned.

Kaiden Evans, 13, said he wanted to take part in the program and focus on more on his math skills.

“We have learned about respect and caring for each other and being polite,” he said.

Evans, who is in eighth grade, said he went to Kent State University to look at career choices and wants to be a mechanic.

Angela Hudson, 11, seventh grade, said the program has been fun and a chance for her to get help with math.

Hudson said she enjoys the girl circle time when they talk about future plans and what they want to do with their lives. She said she would like to get her degree and then attend law school.

In designing the program, White said during the three months school is not in session, children often lose some of what they have learned. She said the goal is to help stop brain drain and get children to retain what they have learned.

She said older students act as mentors and adults assist younger children.

“We want everyone to learn but also to have fun,” she said.