On the Road began as a way to directly address the 6,000-hour learning gap, which negatively affects low-income students who have experienced fewer enrichment opportunities than their peers. That’s why our programs typically take place after the school bell rings, adding hands-on learning experiences outside of normal school hours.
But in order to address summer learning loss, which results in students losing some of their academic skills during the summer months, we also run summer programming in partnership with community organizations.
And today, we wanted to show you a few of the amazing experiences our youth received this summer, thanks to your support and some wonderful partners!
Our middle school youth kicked of an exciting summer thanks to Kathy Yoder at Vine and Fig. Youth got to visit the community garden, which seeks to cultivate and celebrate works of compassion, social justice, and ecological sustainability.
Kathy, who is the Educational Outreach Program Coordinator at Vine and Fig, enjoys creating magical garden spaces for children to explore and help enable them to connect with nature.
Kathy wants children to lead the way to community based composting, and helped our youth learn more about this effort.
Our youth had the chance to learn about compost and recycling pickup, and the importance of school and community gardens.
They also got to pick some garlic and take some home with them!
Youth learning more about Vine and Fig from Kathy Yoder.
Our middle school youth also got to visit the White Oak Lavender Farm, which combines growing, harvesting, and processing lavender with a relaxing, interactive eco-friendly farm experience.
Youth got the chance to meet some of the amazing staff and see how essential oils are made from lavender.
They also got a chance to meet and feed some of the animals that live at the lavender farm!
Taking some fun photos at the lavender farm after feeding the animals and picking lavender!
Our middle schoolers also got to visit Silver Run Forest Farm, a riparian nursery and folk school rooted in love and living soil in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.
Youth a chance to meet Jonathan, the owner (shown with some of our youth below) and explore the creek.
Plus, they got to try some wineberry!
Our high school youth had some amazing opportunities this summer, too, including getting to participate in the Youth Entrepreneurship Strategies (YES) Program at JMU X-Labs!
Along with Virginia Partnership for Out-of-School-Time and VA/DC First Lego League, we were able to bring 15 of our local high school students to take on the Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge.
Youth got to try virtual reality, thanks to JMU X-Labs, which is all about providing students + youth with a safe space to explore their creativity, ideate, and prototype. They also got to learn more about what it takes to bring an idea to fruition and turn it into a business.
And at the end of the week during the Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge, each of our youth had a business idea, t-shirts with their logos, and a recorded pitch that can be submitted to the national challenge.
A huge thanks to JMU X-Labs for hosting and to VPOST and VA/DC First Lego League for helping to bring this all together!
Some of our high school youth also had the chance to learn how to make chocolate as part of our Emerging Chefs summer program!
We were able to partner with Apalache Chocolate, which makes artisan dark chocolate right here in Harrisonburg, VA.
We also held a Sports Leadership Week as part of our high school program, which gave youth the chance to participate in a full week of sports and fitness!
First, youth got a tour of 24/7 Family Fitness and learn some exercises thanks to their team. Then, youth got a tour of the Bridgeforth Stadium at James Madison University and even got to go on the field!
A huge thanks to 24/7 Fitness and JMU for helping make this special week happen!
This summer might go down as our best one yet and we are so incredibly thankful to all of our wonderful sponsors and Community Teachers who helped make these amazing experiences happen for our youth!
We’re looking forward to continuing to provide educational opportunities and hands-on career experiences as we prepare for another semester of fall programming in Harrisonburg City and Waynesboro City Schools!
Want to help us bring these kinds of opportunities to local youth? Learn how you can get support our programs here.