Program helps kids keep on learning all summer long

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Sarah Gobeille has her hands full this day at Guy Lee Park and is loving every minute.

"So we're making thing one and thing 2 today," she said.

The students she's working with are fourth graders taking advantage of the Willamalane summer free lunch and learning program.

"Each day we do art projects, we have a lot of free time, they play games, we read to them," Gobeille said.

Even special visitors drop by. On Wednesday, July 3, Senator Ron Wyden paid the kids a visit.

While the emphasis is on fun, there is some serious work going on here: it's getting about 75 kids at 9 different sites ready to do a good job in school in September. Registration closed in June.

"The kids get to keep coming and get to keep learning and they get to keep growing all summer long, just like the kids who are privileged enough to be able to go to a camp," Gobeille said.

The aim is to cut the learning gap experienced by some lower income students and teach relationship skills, like cooperation.