St. Louis app helps parents looking for summer activities for kids | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis app helps parents looking for summer activities for kids

Mar 20, 2018

A St. Louis-based mobile app and website aims to help parents find summer activities for their kids, all in one place.

Blueprint4SummerSTL aggregates a list of wide-ranging activities for parents to choose from based on a child’s specific needs, including the cost, distance, interests, age, before and after care, as well as scholarship availability.

Allie Cicotte is the senior programs manager at the Clark-Fox Family Foundation, which helps fund BluePrint4SummerSTL. Cicotte said in the three years the app has been available, it’s received a warm welcome from parents.

“What we hear from parents is ‘I had no idea you existed.’” Cicotte said, “‘and where were you the past four summers when I’ve been trying to plan this?’”

As of now, there are roughly 5,500 programs on the website that range from STEM and academics to arts and sports. Many of the available programs are free and low cost. Cicotte said for parents that may have difficulty paying for certain activities there are options.

“About half of our programs that are listed on Blueprint4Summer provide scholarships,” she said. “We at Blueprint4Summer also distribute supplemental scholarship funding. So we’re hoping to distribute about $100,000 of supplemental scholarship to programs that are listed on our site this year to make sure that even more students can attend.

Cicotte said one of the main goals of the program is to prevent learning loss in students once they leave the classroom for summer break. According to Cicotte, students lose roughly two months in math performance.

But low-income students, who already face economic barriers, are likely to lose three months of reading performance throughout the course of the summer. Cicotte said 80 percent of the achievement gap can be explained by what does and does not happen during the summer.

“What is even more staggering is that that is cumulative over time,” Cicotte said. “Meaning that every summer we allow all students to not be engaged in something meaningful during summer months those losses continue to add up and the achievement gap continues to widen.”

Cicotte said the St. Louis region has several programs to help those students improve those skills.

In February, Blueprint4Summer expanded its app outside of the St. Louis region to Denver. In the future Cicotte hopes to expand the app to other parts of Missouri, as well.

Follow Marissanne on Twitter: @Marissanne2011