With summer in full swing, the City and County of Denver wants to remind parents about opportunities available that ensure Denver’s children and youth are healthy, safe, engaged in the community, and continue to learn while school is out.
“The city’s role in serving Denver youth truly exists when our kids are on summer break,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “It’s crucial we provide our families with programs that support their basic needs while also equipping our students with the tools they need to succeed upon their return to the classroom.”
Summer opportunities available through the Office of Children’s Affairs, Denver Parks and Recreation, Office of Economic Development, and the Denver Public Library are comprised of activities related to healthy eating, educational and cultural experiences, enrichment programs and employment. They include:
Free Healthy Meals – The Summer Food Service Program provides free meals through August 18 for all youth, ages 18 and younger, at various Denver recreation centers. Dates, times and types of meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack) may vary at each location. Meal sites are open to the public. Documentation and proof of income or residency are not required. For a complete list of meal sites, menus and more food resources, call the toll-free, multilingual hotline at 855-855-4626, or visit denvergov.org/YouthEatFree.
Summer Learning Opportunities – Youth who attend summer learning programs are better prepared for the school year. Research shows that summers without quality learning opportunities put youth at risk for falling behind, which is a leading contributor to the achievement gap. Summer learning programs are proven to maintain and advance students’ academic and social growth, keep children safe and healthy during the summer, and send young people back to school ready to learn. With over 1,000 afterschool and summer programs in Denver, space is still available for enrollment. Families can find a safe and high-quality program through the “Afterschool Program Locator.” For more information and to find a program in your neighborhood, visit denvergov.org/denverafterschoolalliance.
Take an Adventure with the Denver Public Library – The Summer of Adventure program aims to help children improve literacy skills through reading and experiential learning. The program is divided into two age groups. Children in preschool or younger are encouraged to read, participate in nature walks, dance parties and can earn free books. Youth in grades K – 12 engage with independent reading, complete STEM activities, maker challenges and more. Prizes are awarded, including tickets to Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park and coupons to Chipotle Mexican Grill, for reaching designated milestones. The program runs through August 12 at all Denver Public Library locations. Participants must register by July 29. Visit the Summer of Adventure Program to learn more.
Free Access to Recreation Centers and Swimming Pools – With the MY Denver Card, youth ages 5 – 18, who live in the City and County of Denver or attend Denver Public Schools (DPS), can have the “Key to the City!” It serves as both a Denver recreation center and library card. Recreation centers offer structured and drop-in activities for cardholders, including sports and fitness, urban arts and culture, and science and technology. MY Denver Cardholders can also get limited, free access to the following educational and cultural facilities over the summer: American Museum of Western Art, Byers-Evans House Museum, Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, Clyfford Still Museum, Denver Art Museum, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, History Colorado Center, Molly Brown House Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
All youth can sign up for their first MY Denver Card at any Denver recreation center. DPS students can also obtain their first card, or ensure their benefits stay active on their existing card, by selecting to “opt-in” for a MY Denver Card during the online enrollment verification process, July 24 – August 11, 2017. Signing up through the city’s online portal will be available after August 11. To learn more, visit denvergov.org/mydenvercard.
Denver Workforce Services also reminds young adults, ages 16 – 24, to participate in the 2017 Governor’s Summer Job Hunt. There are no limiting qualifications and economic circumstances are not a consideration for participation. This is a free referral service to young adults and employers with ongoing virtual job fairs. For dates and more information, visit ConnectingColorado.com.
For more information on additional opportunities for youth, visit denvergov.org/childrensaffairs.
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