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Denver Heats Up with Summer Opportunities for Youth to Eat Healthy, Learn, Play and Work

DENVER –  Summer is here, and the City and County of Denver wants to ensure families are informed about opportunities available for children and youth to remain healthy, safe, engaged in the community and continue to learn while school is out.

“Providing these resources to our young people, especially activities that help them stay active mentally, physically and intellectually during the summer months, is critical to supporting their growth and success,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Through these programs, Denver families have access to a variety of opportunities across the city that connect their kids to summer activities that support their health, education and positive development.”

“During the summer, children and youth, at every age, are at risk of learning loss and disengagement,” said Erin Brown, Executive Director of the Office of Children’s Affairs. “City agencies are intentional in working together to create opportunities that will lead youth to stretch their imagination, embrace exploratory learning, and build a sense of independence and competence while out of school – ultimately preparing them to be successful in the upcoming school year.”

Summer opportunities available through the Office of Children’s Affairs, Denver Parks and Recreation, Office of Economic Development, and the Denver Public Library are comprised of activities related to healthy eating, educational and cultural experiences, enrichment programs and employment. They include:

  • Free Healthy Meals - The Summer Food Service program provides free meals through August 18 for all youth, ages 18 and younger, at various Denver recreation centers, libraries, schools and more. Dates, times and types of meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack) may vary at each location. Meal sites are open to the public. Documentation and proof of income or residency are not required. For a complete list of meal sites, menus and more food resources, call the toll-free, bilingual Food Resource Hotline at 855-855-4626, visit denvergov.org/YouthEatFree or visit www.kidsfoodfinder.org.
  • Summer Learning Opportunities - Youth who attend summer learning programs are better prepared for the school year. Research shows that summers without quality learning opportunities put youth at risk for falling behind, a leading contributor to the achievement gap. Summer learning programs are proven to maintain and advance students’ social and emotional skills and academic growth, keep children safe and healthy during the summer, and send young people back to school ready to learn. The Denver Afterschool Alliance is partnering with Blueprint4SummerCO to provide families with access to summer program information. To learn more and find a program that meets your family’s needs, visit blueprint4summer.com.
  • Take an adventure with the Denver Public Library - The Summer of Adventure program aims to help children improve literacy and learning skills through reading and experiential learning. The program is divided into three agreement groups:
    • Children in preschool or younger are encouraged to read, participate in nature walks, dance parties and can earn free books.
    • Kids in grades K - 5 can complete reading challenges or attend programs that focus on science, technology, math and engineering skills (STEM).
    • Teens in grades 6 - 12 can also complete STEM activities, create items for the maker challenge or take part in exciting technology-based summer camps.

All participants are entered into drawings to win family passes to popular Denver cultural institutions. The program runs through August 11 at all Denver Public Library locations. Participants must register by July 28. To learn more, visit denverlibraryadventures.org.

  • Free Access to Recreation Centers and Swimming Pools – With the MY Denver Card, youth ages 5 - 18, who live in the City and County of Denver or attend Denver Public Schools can have the “Key to the City!” It serves as both a Denver recreation center and library card. Recreation centers offer structured and drop-in activities for cardholders, including sports and fitness, urban arts and culture, and science and technology. MY Denver Cardholders can also get limited, free access to various educational and cultural facilities across the city. To learn more, visit denvergov.org/mydenvercard.
  • The Governor’s Summer Job Hunt – Denver Workforce Services reminds young adults, ages 16 - 24, to participate in the 2018 Governor’s Summer Job Hunt. There are no limiting qualifications, and economic circumstances are not a consideration for participation. This is a free referral service to young adults and employers with ongoing virtual job fairs. For dates and more information, visit ConnectingColorado.com.

For additional opportunities for children and youth, visit denvergov.org/childrensaffairs.