Young scholars from two local school districts are taking part in "Find My Genius" this summer. The five-week program, sponsored by the Southeast Ventura County YMCA, Conejo Valley Unified School District and Las Virgenes Unified School District, is designed to reduce the achievement gap that often occurs over summer break.
The program is offered at no cost to low- and moderate-income students entering K-6th grades who are not reading at grade level. Of the 240 children participating, half attend the program at Conejo Elementary School in Thousand Oaks and half attend at Sumac Elementary School in Agoura Hills.
"This year's Find My Genius is particularly important," says Megan Glynn, Chief Development Officer for the Y. "Due to COVID and distance learning, so many children experienced significant setbacks in their education. We more than doubled the size of the program this year to accommodate the increased need."
Participant progress is evaluated after the five-week program is completed. Since Find My Genius began in 2018 with an initial 60 children enrolled, participants have gained an average of more than 3 months in reading and math skills. Children also participate in enrichment activities, sports, field trips, and arts and crafts. "Find My Genius gives kids a solid foundation and the confidence they need to succeed when they start school in the fall," says Glynn.
Find My Genius scholars are nominated by their schools to attend. The program is taught by credentialed teachers from both school districts. "Our incredible team of dedicated teachers, instructional aides, and camp counselors make Find My Genius a very positive experience," says Glynn.
Find My Genius is fully funded through many generous individuals and Foundations. The Y also received generous support from LVUSD to offer 40 additional scholarships to LVUSD students who fell behind during COVID.