TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — While summer break is something students look forward to, for parents it can bring on worries that kids dont suffer from the summer slide.
Studies show that students can lose significant knowledge in reading and math over these next couple of months.
"There's a lot that happens that on the surface you think, oh it's a fun arts camp. No, there's a lot happening," said Dallas Thomas, the production manager for Stories that Soar.
This is so much more than a summer camp.
"This year we are thrilled to be fully back in person producing both film and live theater," said Thomas.
Thomas said now the program is getting ready to help middle school students find their voice through their summer camp.
"Our shows and our videos are all student generated content," said Thomas.
Thomas said it's fun way to stay productive over the summer.
"The summer slide we know it impacts students of a lower socio-economic status the most and often it's an access issue and so that's why our programing is free," said Thomas.
And it combats the summer slide in a unique way.
"And it does so in a way that is fun and creative and yet there's still a lot of academic content that would really make the parents and schools happy," said Thomas.
Students start off with writing.
"Learning what makes a good story, the arc of a story, character development," said Thomas.
Then they learn to communicate and collaborate.
"They select stories that they're going to produce and then they have to analyze and conceptualize those stories and really dive deep as far as themes," said Thomas.
"You know what they say, teamwork makes the dream work, right," said 6th grader Carlitos Mena.
Students just like Mena have been part of the Stories that Soar program during the school year.
"I liked how everyone could just join up in a big pile and make a whole big show together," said Mena.
Another big part of the program is that Literacy Connects works to make this a safe space
"Because they're being very vulnerable and sharing these personal stories. Even if they're zany, it's something that came from them and theirs lots of vulnerability there," said Thomas.
A brave moment, as each student learns to express themselves on stage.
Families with middle schoolers can sign up until Friday, June 3rd.
For more information on how to sign up, visit literacyconnects.org.
Lydia Camarillo is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. Lydia is no stranger to the Old Pueblo. She has been reporting in Tucson for more than a decade and has been involved in numerous projects highlighting folks in the community. Share your story ideas and important issues with Lydia by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.