2019 LoveLight Summer Program
As children and teens become more inclined to be sedentary and devote increasing amounts of time to sitting at home watching television or playing games on the computer, it is increasingly important for their healthful development and future success to be outdoors receiving the benefits of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise as well as engagement in a variety of activities involving positive, face-to-face social interaction and skill, knowledge, and positive attitude development. During the summer of 2019, 143 (unduplicated) children at 4 lower-income neighborhood sites (Athena Drive, Heritage Knolls, Summit Gardens, and Villages at Franklin Crossing were served a total of 2,189 hot and cold lunches (1,815 first meals and 374 second meals). More than 291 volunteer hours were devoted to preparation and delivery of lunches.
In addition, during the nine weeks of LoveLight’s summer program, 5,820 shelf-stable weekend meals were distributed to children in lower-income families living in eight neighborhoods in Kent and Ravenna.
Activities, which varied among the four Kent neighborhoods, included the following:
* Team games such as soccer, baseball, football, and capture the flag to promote healthy physical development as well as better communication skills, team companionship, and strategy skills.
* Board games and card games, including Uno, Chutes and Ladders, Spot it, and Headbands. Besides strengthening attention and focus and enhancing foundational skills for success in school and life, these activities helped the children learn patience and how to take turns.
* Whiffle ball, hide and seek, freeze tag, and capture the flag, which require team bonding and communication skills
* Development of younger children's cognitive skills such as recognizing letters and numbers and their correct sequences
* Cornhole, Relay races, Parachute games. These games focused on gross motor skills and teamwork. The children picked teams and participated in a lengthy game where they had to use communication skills, collaborative skills, and critical thinking skills to win the game. Through these games, they were also encouraged to express their frustration in an effective manner instead of running away from a problem or being disappointed.
* Creative expression such as painting, friendship bracelets, and coloring using a variety of materials.
* Water play
* Guest presentations by Kent State nursing students on health and nutrition and Kent City police on gun safety.
Besides the benefits to the children and their families, LoveLight’s summer program also supported our economy through local purchases and employment of Kent residents. An additional contribution of the program was the valuable experience gained by college students who were involved in the program and employment, mentoring, and work experience provided to a teen via Ohio Means Jobs.