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Over the 2018 summer break ARCHS created an educational bridge for students by funding learning activities across the St. Louis area. The goal was to provide specialized enrichment programs to counteract the educational regression seen in children due to limited academic stimulation during the summer months.

According to a 2016 Rand Corporation study, during summers, “children may forget many of the lessons they learned from the prior school year -- particularly low-income children who may have access to few enrichment activities. But new research finds that voluntary high-quality summer programs can help boost achievement in both reading and math...”

To address this, ARCHS issued $45,698 in funds to area arts and education organizations to support learning enrichment activities in June and July.

ARCHS’ awarded grants to:
• Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc.
• Kitchen Conservatory
• Magic House
• Maryville University (in kind services)
• Operation Food Search (Cooking Matters)
• STL Artworks
• St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program
• St. Louis Science Center
• UM Extension 

The Missouri Department of Social Service funds enabled more than 200 youth to participate in a variety of summer learning activities at Fathers’ Support Center, St. Frances Cabrini Academy, Centennial Christian Church, and Fairview Elementary and Woodland/Hanrahan Elementary Schools in the Jennings School District.

Through these new grants, children in these programs were able to participate in a variety of special programs, such as Operation Food Search’s “Cooking Matters” classes. There, kids learned how to read recipes and prepare and cook healthy meals.

Surveys taken before and after these courses showed the students came away with enhanced cooking skills and more confidence in the kitchen. This can be seen in the increase of children’s willingness to try new food, such as fruits and whole grains, and the general increase in their ability to make a healthy meal for themselves.

Youth also learned STEM-related lessons via the St. Louis Science classes exploring various topics such as basic physics through the interaction of everyday objects. They were guided through movement based experiments that touched on ideas of gravity, friction and momentum.

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Fathers’ Support Center’s Youth Mentoring Program utilized these grants by creating opportunities for career exploration. Over the course of the summer, participants were introduced to several career fields, including nursing via visit to Maryville University where youth learned how to administer medicine using a hypodermic needle and attending to the medical needs of automated manikins. They also got their hands dirty at the St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program by building their own toolbox from scratch utilizing measures techniques and operating power tools.

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During FY 2018, ARCHS issued 53 grants exceeding $8 million to area education and human service service organizations to enhance the lives of thousands of area families living in poverty and facing disparities and disadvantages.

In addition to funding, ARCHS annually provides 16,000 hours of strategic evaluation, technical assistance, and professional development support to enhance the quality and delivery of programs that focus on early childhood and parenting, school age, and family support initiatives.