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Chicago Public Library's Summer Learning Challenge Helps Youth Thrive

WHEN KIDS ARE OUT OF SCHOOL IN THE SUMMER, the Chicago Public Library Foundation aims to stop the "summer brain drain" by providing a program that will keep the city's youth educated and engaged. The library's award-winning Summer Learning Challenge offers mind-sharpening activities for over 100,000 kids, most from low-income communities. The library depends entirely on donations in order to keep this crucial program alive. A gift of $25 will fund the participation of four children in these activities for the entire summer. This program is credited as the brain child of Elizabeth McChesney, Director of Children's Services for Chicago Public Library. I urge you to donate to this vital program. To make a donation to the Chicago Public Library's Summer Learning Program, click here.

"The Summer Learning Challenge is essentially the Summer Reading program, which has been funded by donors to the Chicago Public Library Foundation for over 30 years," said Rhona Frazin, President and CEO of the Chicago Public Library. "The program was redesigned in 2013 to address the 'summer slide,' appeal to children with various learning styles by incorporating STEAM—science, technology, engineering, art, and math—concepts, with the added goal of drawing parents into their children's learning experience. In addition to workshops, hands-on activities, performances, field trips, and an Explorer Guide chock full of activities, the Summer Learning Challenge also includes amazing incentive prizes for kids and their parents."

Among these incentives is an eReader, which will be given away at each library location throughout all 80 branches of the Chicago Public Library. Parent and caregivers participating in the program will be entered to win a tech package consisting of a laptop, digital camera, and tablet, along with books to promote family learning (one package will be awarded citywide). The Summer Learning Challenge takes place on a nearly daily basis from June through August, when superhero blockbusters are attracting crowds at movie theaters. Students who loved the latest "Spider-Man" film will particularly enjoy scheduled activities such as the Superhero Training Academy with The Laboratory Chicago, Melody: An Original Superhero Ballet by Tiffany Lawson Dance and The Science of Superheroes with the Science Alliance.

The 2017 Summer Learning Challenge is made possible thanks to Library Foundation donors and sponsors including the James & Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation, the Allstate Foundation, Boeing, Dr. Scholl Foundation, Helen M. Harrison Foundation, the Paul M. Angell Foundation, KPMG, William Blair, Macy’s Inc, RR Donnelly, PNC Bank, the Walter Heller Foundation, and Cubs Care, a fund of the McCormick Foundation.​

For more information on programs taking place at a library branch near you, click here. To make a donation to the Chicago Public Library's Summer Learning Program, click here.

Editor's note: Below is the new logo for the Chicago Public Library. 

Chaz Ebert

Chaz is the CEO of several Ebert enterprises, including the President of The Ebert Company Ltd, and of Ebert Digital LLC, Publisher of RogerEbert.com, President of Ebert Productions and Chairman of the Board of The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and Co-Founder and Producer of Ebertfest, the film festival now in its 18th year.

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