This past summer marked our 10th year of providing high-poverty rural communities with funding and technical assistance to run summer programs serving children and youth. Feed Your Brain is a partnership between School’s Out Washington, Children’s Alliance, Discuren Charitable Foundation and this year, our new partner Page Ahead. Feed Your Brain came to life in 2001 after some staff at School’s Out and Children’s Alliance realized how great it would be to address both childhood hunger and learning loss during the summer months by expanding the reach of the Summer Feeding Service Program and providing support to schools and community based organizations to operate summer programs focused on literacy. Discuren Charitable Foundation stepped up to fund the project and Feed Your Brain was born.
Now, as we wrap up our 10th year, this project has grown in breadth and depth as we impact more rural communities every year and expand our training and technical assistance to address program quality improvement. As we celebrate 10 years of Feed Your Brain, we took a moment today to acknowledge and reconnect with past staff and funders who have supported and worked on this project close to many of our hearts. We shared our memories and reflections on Feed Your Brain including site visits to some of these remote communities where strong leadership and a commitment to children and families has kept programs running and kids engaged throughout the year. We also acknowledged the very unique commitment of Discuren Charitable Foundation to this project through their ongoing support of Feed Your Brain each year.
A couple years ago, we engaged in a strategic planning process for Feed Your Brain and piloted a multi-year funding model now in its second of three years. Five programs are recipients of the multi-year funding and receiving enhanced technical assistance and training to work towards program quality improvement. We are excited at this year’s Bridge Conference to have some of the directors from the multi-year funded sites as panel participants in a workshop focused on afterschool and summer program best practices in rural communities.
We are also excited this coming year to not only continue with Feed Your Brain, but expand our focus around summer learning through a technical assistance grant we received from the National Summer Learning Association. We will be focusing more efforts around building public will for summer learning programs and developing a policy platform to support summer programs at the local and state level. Stay tuned for more information on this project.
To learn more about Feed Your Brain, visit our website or contact Danielle Baer.