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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Summer Break is Broken for Many Rural Tennessee Kids

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Monday, June 5, 2023   

An advocacy group is expanding summer learning opportunities for families in the Volunteer State.

In Tennessee and across the country, isolation and learning loss impact many rural kids once school lets out. Research shows children can lose up to 34% of what they learned during the prior school year during the summer.

Chapple Osborne-Arnold, Tennessee state director for Save the Children, said for kids living in poverty, summer could mean children are home alone and hungry because they are not getting meals from school. She explained they are partnering with several districts and counties on robust summer programs to keep kids engaged and fed.

"We can bring them into the school building, they can continue to learn, we can provide some enrichment activities," Osborne-Arnold outlined. "And most importantly, they get the nutrition and the two meals plus a snack a day."

According to the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, 18.4% of children are living in poverty. Osborne-Arnold pointed out they provide children with books, supplies, meals and other resources over the summer. They also offer kindergarten transition programming, parent education and nutritious cooking classes.

Osborne-Arnold added this year they were able to kick off their mobile unit in one of Tennessee's counties, which provides families and children younger than 18 with free food.

"It's called "Taste and See" and it's a really cool idea, kind of like a kid's food truck," Osborne-Arnold explained. "Every week they go to a different place in the county and set up. Could be in a housing development, could be at a city park, it could be at the local library or at the Walmart parking lot. It could be anywhere."

Shane Garver, head of program design and impact for Save the Children, explained while poverty affects millions of children across the U.S., its strongest grip is on the lives of children in rural communities. He noted with rural child poverty higher than in urban areas in 40 states, his organization is working on making summer fair.

"We create fun and inviting summer camps, like kids across the country might have the opportunity to go to that focus on reading and math," Garver emphasized. "But also focus on STEM things like Lego robotics, focus on enrichment activities and things that can really stretch and inspire children."

Garver added transportation is a barrier for rural kids which can prevents them from being able to access nutritious food and summer feeding programs. He added it is why Save the Children partners with community organizations to develop creative ways of getting food to the kids who need it most.

Disclosure: Save the Children contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Early Childhood Education, Education, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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