It is around this time of year that the entire Horizons network comes together to help raise funds for Horizons programs across the country. This fundraising drive, known as Horizons Giving Day, is happening on May 12, with advance giving taking place from May 1-11, 2021. As we move into the COVID-19 recovery phase, In order for us to meet the many needs of our Horizons students and families, it is vital that we meet (and perhaps exceed) our fundraising goals. With our community of donors and supporters, we are confident that we can get there!
The need to create more opportunities for all young people to thrive and be successful came into even sharper focus in 2020. COVID-19 spotlighted the disparities Horizons has combatted for years in under-resourced communities. According to Pew Research, the majority of U.S. students don’t have the same access to resources, such as laptops and Wi-Fi, which has posed barriers to education in the year or more of virtual learning. These barriers disproportionately affect communities of color. Learning opportunity gaps between students in different communities are becoming even more pronounced from COVID-19 and the COVID slide.
A McKinsey study notes, “Students of color could be six to 12 months behind, compared with four to eight months for white students. While all students are suffering, those who came into the pandemic with the fewest academic opportunities are on track to exit with the greatest learning loss.”
According to McKinsey, students in communities where out-of-school time learning opportunities are often unavailable are also experiencing heightened learning loss as a result of the pandemic, “which will probably be greatest among low-income, Black, and Hispanic students,” the report noted.
Now is the time to support and invest in out-of-school time programs like Horizons! The Learning Policy Institute states, “The traditional school day and calendar are not sufficient to offset the learning time that has been lost during the pandemic.” Horizons has been successfully leveraging the months when students are out of school to stem summer learning loss for children in Denver for 23 years! With Horizons, students can begin making up ground this summer and be better prepared when they return to school in the fall.
We are working hard right now to safely host in-person programming this coming summer. In order to accomplish this, our costs have increased. We need to implement health monitoring systems, increase the number of buses, hire lifeguards specifically for Horizons, provide individual supplies for each student, and much more. With your support, we can ensure that we will be able to provide this valuable programming for our students. Kids need a chance to play, have fun, and connect with their peers. Joy, excitement, and laughter are constantly present in Horizons classrooms and communities. This summer, we will create experiences for our students in person that give them a chance to recover emotionally in a safe and loving environment.