By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
A summer enrichment program in Princeville aims to prepare children for the third grade and to make them “lifelong learners.”
“We’re reviewing things that they should’ve mastered in the second grade to make sure they’re ready for the third grade,” said Lisa Barkley, who is heading up the L.Y.N.X. program. “Third grade is the first year they do End-of-Grade testing.”
Leading Young Nobles to eXcellence (L.Y.N.X.) will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from July 9 until Aug. 22 at Heritage Park in Princeville. Breakfast and lunch will be served each day of programming. The program is free and is available to the first 10 children who register.
The focus of the summer program is math and reading, and the children will be split up into two groups for small group instruction. Character education will be a component of the program, as well.
“We’ve invited some community leaders to come in and share with the kids why character is important and how it helps them in their jobs,” Barkley said.
Among the invited guests are Tarboro Police Chief Damon Williams, Derrick Haskins of the Edgecombe County Health Department, Bishop Nellie Rodgers, pastor of Living Waters Ministries, Princeville Volunteer Fire Capt. Harris, and Barkley’s son Christopher Clark, a retired soldier. Barkley also hopes that the contact with the community leaders will get the children thinking about possible future careers. She recalls children in her generation dreaming of growing up and pursuing a certain profession, and she wants to bring back those dreams to today’s generation of children.
The children will also have a chance to create artwork in the summer enrichment program.
“They will be having art sessions, so hopefully that will spark the dreamer in them, their imagination,” Barkley said. “It (the program) is just to enrich the lives of these young people, maybe to add another dimension to them.”
Barkley is an advocate of early childhood education and a community fellow with the Down East Partnership for Children.
“I wholeheartedly believe in the mission of the Down East Partnership for Children: launching every child as a lifelong learner,” said Barkley.
Barkley has concerns about the recent budget cuts to education and the possible impact of those cuts on students. She believes that in these times the entire community is going to have to do its part to ensure that the county’s children grow up to become “responsible citizens.”
“I think my generation was offered a lot in grades K through 12, but I think my grandkids will miss out on some of those opportunities,” Barkley said. “We all have to do what we can to help our future – these kids.”
The program coordinator wants to involve the parents in their children’s educational experience this summer and requires that they attend one of two Parent Academy meetings headed up by representatives from the Down East Partnership. The first session will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. July 25, while the second session will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 17. Heritage Park will be the site of both sessions. The sessions will be open to all parents in the community interested in attending, not just the parents of summer enrichment program participants.
To sign up your child for the summer enrichment program, contact Barkley by phone at 252-883-5604 or email at email@example.com. Although space for the summer program is limited this year, Barkley hopes to expand the program to serve more children next summer.