Grant from Glassman Fund supports summer reading camp in East Moline

It looks and sounds a bit like school, but Two Rivers YMCA staff are confident the students taking part in this year’s Summer Enrichment Camp will want to return every year. “They’ll go to the zoo, art museum, library and the Y for swimming,” said Jeff Cornelius, Senior Director of Youth Development. “One of the unique things about it is that it’s a camp experience with field trips and camp counselors, but they are also reading with these kids and working to keep them at grade level.”

The camp, which is hosted for six weeks at five locations in Moline, hosts students who have been identified as having the potential for reading and summer learning loss. The camp is free to students. The East Moline camp location was made possible this year thanks to a $12,000 grant from the Kenneth and Sharon Glassman Fund.

The East Moline site, located at Ridgewood Elementary, is in the heart of a community loved by the Glassmans. Kenneth passed away in 2001 and Sharon passed away in 2013. The fund is now managed by the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend (CFGRB). The Glassmans were interested in education, and providing opportunities for children who might not otherwise have them. Kenneth was a sheet metal worker in a factory setting and those who knew them say the couple would have wanted their legacy to be about helping individuals and families better themselves.

“They were very focused on supporting programs like ours that support people in East Moline,” Cornelius said, adding that the YMCA provides before and after-school care at East Moline elementary schools. “So, we do our best to take care of that community as well.”

The grant will go a long way toward helping students and their families have success. Along with camp counselors, the camp is led by certified teachers with training in reading comprehension and ability. 

Last year, 22 students participated in the East Moline camp. Of those, 10 students improved their reading proficiency and seven maintained their reading level. None of the students lost reading skills during the summer. Those not accounted for did not take the post-camp reading test. “Without this funding, we wouldn’t have been able to have the teachers we do,” said Cornelius.

The camp is also able to expand its hours this year, moving to an 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. camp day instead of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. so more families can be involved. “The time last year was a barrier for a lot of parents,” Cornelius said.

CFGRB has been a long-time supporter of YMCA projects, Cornelius added. “They have partnered with the Y on many different initiatives,” he said. “Our missions overlap in so many different areas. This grant involved youth development and education, but we’re both also about health and wellness and taking care of the community as a whole.”

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