4032506_origIt’s ‘ready, set, go’ time for our 10 summer college interns as 142 elementary and middle school summer campers arrive on campus. With a varied background of career studies from business to education, psychology to seminary, this year’s interns attend different colleges and universities throughout Florida and as far away as Skidmore College in Up-State New York. Their common bond is a desire to spend their summer serving the educational needs of children at Grace Place.

As part of their training, interns learned how to teach and lead children, positive youth development, CPR and water safety, as well as Grace Place policies and procedures. These young adults will work for 10 weeks this summer, teaching summer camp Monday through Thursday and assisting with the Kindergarten Readiness program on Fridays.

In addition to these college interns and our classroom teachers, South West Florida Workforce Development is providing high school interns to learn job skills through work assignments in technology, operations, and classroom aides. A solid team of 80 volunteers each week will ensure our campers will have plenty of one-on-one and small group assistance, avoiding “summer slide” in their academic abilities.

I have been impressed with the high caliber of our college interns and the wide range of their backgrounds and experiences. We hope to put those talents to work in our creative and academically rich summer curriculum. In addition to STEM studies, we will be using the Reading Horizon software program with our youngest students. This program is designed to bring students up to grade level in time for school this fall.

Our elementary school summer campers spent their first week at Teen Angel Camp on the campus of The Community School of Naples. Under the direction of Jill Roche, CSN upper school students organized and implemented the four-day camp designed especially for Grace Place students. I am excited and grateful for this wonderful partnership and look forward to future CSN projects as we move into the 2013-14 school year.

Next week our summer program will kick off on our own campus. In addition to providing campers with a nutritious breakfast and lunch, we will be injecting a lot of fun into our activities which will have a different look and feel from traditional school studies, yet will reinforce academics according to school standards.

We welcome you to visit the campus this summer, meet our interns and see for yourself how literacy, language and life skills are changing the course of young lives.


Tom Powers
Director Student Programs
Grace Place for Children and Families