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By Frank X. Moraga / Amigos805


With statistics showing that children lose one to three months of learning during the summer when they are out of school, it’s vital that parents find alternatives to keep those young minds active and prepared for the school year ahead. Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, a developer ofaffordable housing, is helping parents do just that by continuing its Youth Education Enhancement Program (YEEP) at learning centers at eight of its affordable rental complexes throughout the summer. The program serves 240 students.



Frank X. Moraga

“A strong education is key to success in these students’ lives, so offering summer education at our properties was a natural fit for our mission,” John Fowler, president/CEO of Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, stated in a media release. “We want these kids to have promising futures in addition to safe homes to grow up in.”

Research also shows low-income students lose more academic skills over summer than their middle-class peers, the organization reported.

The YEEP program will help children from low-income families improve their literacy, English and math skills, rather than allowing these skills to regress over the traditionally inactive summer months. While most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computations skills over the summer, low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, the National Summer Learning Association reports (Cooper, 1996). Their middle-class peers meanwhile make slight gains in reading achievement over the summer.

“We speculated that middle-class summer school programs may have better funding and resources,” said Duke University Professor Harris Cooper, Ph.D, author of the 1996 report. “And it also may be simply that the problems of poor kids are much more entrenched and difficult to address, more remedial in nature. Some have proposed the “faucet theory,” which suggests that when summer comes around, academic resources for the poor are turned off. Middle-class and better-off parents, however, have the resources on their own to compensate to some degree and provide whatever their children might need—remediation, enrichment, or acceleration-type activities when school is not in session.”

YEEP educators work with students on their literacy, English and math skills. The program improves grade-point averages, sharpens reading and study skills, promotes high school graduation, builds self-esteem and fosters parent participation in their child’s academic life, the organization reported. In addition to math, English, and literacy skill building, YEEP students learn about and work on projects in areas such as social studies, computers, community service, science, history, music, theatre, dance and physical education.

The YEEP program will also continue providing students with lunches throughout the summer months with contributions from area food banks. About 50,000 kids in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties receive free or reduced priced meals during the school year, but they lose that access over the summer. YEEP served more than 11,000 lunches last summer to children who may have otherwise had nothing else to eat.

The programs can be found at the organization’s facilities at Los Adobes de Maria II, Santa Maria (40 students); River View Townhomes, Guadalupe (40); Mariposa, Townhomes, Orcutt (40); Courtland Street Apartments, Arroyo Grande (30); Canyon Creek Apartments, Paso Robles: (20); Ladera Apartments, Santa Barbara (20); Dahlia Court II, Carpinteria (30) and St. Vincent’s Gardens, Santa Barbara (20),

Congratulations to Peoples’ Self-Help Housing and its Youth Education Enhancement Program for serving as a positive model for summer youth education programs throughout the 805 region.

Visit for more information.

— Frank X. Moraga is editor/publisher of Amigos805. He has served as business editor, director of diversity and general manager of a bilingual publication at the Ventura County Star, and as a reporter in the community editions of the Orange County Register and Los Angeles Daily News.

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