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Community Champions: Horizons Savannah

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Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 4:09 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Bringing kids together to bring out the best in all of them.

Horizons Savannah believe that returning to an in-person format this year is the best way to offer the full academic and social benefits from their popular summer learning program.

After more than a year of many students getting less out of school, Horizons Savannah will attempt to provide more of what they might have been missing.

“it’s been a hard year for kids and a lot of them are not back yet. For us, we feel it is a huge opportunity to reconnect students with their peers and help make sure that academically they are solid going into next school year and just to be together. We’re very excited about that part,” Christy Edwards said.

The free summer learning program for children from under-resourced families was fully virtual last year but is returning to an in-person format in the hope of bridging both social and academic gaps that developed during the pandemic.

“I think it will be a good opportunity for kids to just get back into the swing of things. We are not like school in a lot of ways. The environment is a lot more relaxed, and I think the teachers are more relaxed and things are more hands on probably than they’re able to do at school, so I think it’s a nice little way to get kids excited again about learning after they have been stuck in front of screens this whole year.”

For two decades, Horizons has been integrating fun and learning to help children get to where they are supposed to be heading into the next grade. They do that by looking ahead rather than back.

“There are ways that amazing teachers and the ones that work at Horizons are able to make that feel seamless and at the same time, make sure students aren’t missing out on what they should be learning at their grade level. All the academic research says that how you get kids excited about what they’re learning and engage. And then once you get the right scaffolding, you can make sure all kids are able to access that content, engage with it and learn.”

The six-week program begins June 7. But the WTOC Community Champions at Horizons kick start their summer next week with their annual online Giving Day.

“We were virtual before virtual was cool.”

The goal for the fundraiser is to raise $100,000 to help pay the program’s certified teachers and provide an entirely free program for more than 250 kids.

“We are always out in the community, making sure we are engaging with philanthropists and donors and we have the great support of the City of Savannah and the United Way and all of the great people who give to Horizons. But we cannot do it without our individual donors and that’s what Giving Day is all about. It is giving everyone in the community the opportunity to log on and really easily make a gift to support Horizons.”

And in doing so, support local students.

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