When it comes to education and preventing the “summer slide,” teachers understand the need to enrich students when classes are out of session.

Children’s Home Society of Florida has partnered with local organizations to create the first S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and math) Summer Camp at Endeavour Elementary School in Cocoa, and the nonprofit aims to send at least 150 students to camp free of charge.

“We have a number of different groups that work with us for our Community Partnership School at Endeavour, and one of those groups is our Community Leadership Council,” said Phebe Powell-Wehlen, executive director for Children’s Home Society of Florida. “In that council meeting we talked about what are our needs of the school, needs of the students, and how as a community can we come together to really support their needs and find a way to make things happen for them.”

As most STEAM summer camps are expensive to local families who wish to send their children, CHS wanted to help alleviate the financial burden, according to Mrs. Powell-Wehlen.

To be able to support Endeavour students attending the STEAM Summer Camp, CHS has been raising funds and is still accepting donations.

“United Way has come to the table and they’ve donated a 3D printer to us and some other things to help support the STEAM camp over the summer,” Mrs. Powell-Wehlen said. “Throughout the Cocoa and the Rockledge communities, we’ve had a number of civic organizations and community groups rallying behind to really support the efforts of the camp – including Cocoa Community First, the GFWC Florida Federation of Women’s Club and Rotary Clubs throughout the Space Coast.”

To date, CHS has $17,000 but the nonprofit needs close to $50,000 in order to host a camp of 150 students.

In the previous months, parents of students at Endeavour Elementary School took home a survey about their interest in the summer camp, Mrs. Powell-Wehlen explained, and parents responded enthusiastically about the opportunity.

The STEAM Summer Camp goals include preventing summer slide so students can be prepared for the new school year, and safety for students while parents are working throughout the summer.

Community partners include Brevard Health Alliance, Brevard Public Schools, city of Cocoa, Eastern Florida State College, University of Central Florida and United Way of Brevard.

Endeavour Elementary School is the only Community Partnership School in Brevard County, and the first elementary school to participate in this program in Florida.

A Community Partnership School aims to empower students by addressing their needs through health care, counseling, mentoring and more.

Throughout her time working with the community organizations in setting up the STEAM Summer Camp at Endeavour, Mrs. Powell-Wehlen said she’s learned it’s an effort that takes a community.

“We can’t do this alone,” she said.

To learn more about Children’s Home Society of Florida, visit www.chsfl.org.

originally posted by: Hometown News