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National Summer Learning Summer Association Announce 2022 New York Life Foundation's Summer Learning Award Winners
By Lindsay Hansen - Wednesday Nov 09, 2022
National Summer Learning Summer Association (NSLA) – the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement and opportunity gap by increasing access to high-quality summer learning experiences – is pleased to announce the 2022 honorees of the coveted New York Life Foundation’s Excellence in Summer Learning Awards. ICAN Summer Program – ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth in Chandler, is one of four recipients.

“ICAN's summer programs are truly a notch above, combining summer learning and literacy opportunities, social/emotional learning, experiential field trips, STEAM and enrichment activities and so much more,” said Shelby Pedersen, ICAN, CEO. “We pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality program, while also providing it at no-cost to families to ensure it reaches youth who wouldn't otherwise have access. We know our programs have the potential to transform lives and it's an honor to be recognized nationally with the Excellence in Summer Learning Award from the National Summer Learning Association!”

For more than a decade, NSLA has undergone a rigorous review process to find the nation’s top summer programs committed to joyful learning experiences, innovative programming, creative family engagement, and the health and well-being of the nation’s most underserved children and youth.

The 2022 winners are Boys and Girls Club of Santa Monica, Santa Monica, California, The Fresh Air Fund, New York, New York, ICAN, Chandler, Arizona, and Teachers in the Parks, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.

“In response to the negative effects of Covid-19, providing summer learning opportunities for young people has become a national priority. NSLA is proud to once again partner with the New York Life Foundation to lift great examples of entrepreneurial and effective programs that others can emulate,” said Aaron P. Dworkin, CEO, National Summer Learning Association. “We are excited to honor the four outstanding programs that have been doing so much to serve students, families, and communities, coming out of the pandemic.”

Each award-winning program will receive:
• A $10,000 grant supported by the New York Life Foundation;

• National recognition at NSLA’s Summer Changes Everything™ national conference;

• Connection to a network of award-winning leaders in the field and NSLA’s professional development opportunities; and

• Visibility through national and local promotions, along with acknowledgment from their local elected officials.

“COVID-19 highlighted the need for continued learning opportunities over the summer. This year’s winners serve as examples of the power of summer learning and the positive impact that they have on children and families across the country,” said Marlyn Torres, Senior Program Officer, the New York Life Foundation. “These exceptional programs provide youth with opportunities to continue to grow, learn and develop during the critical summer months.”

New York Life Excellence in Summer Learning Honoree Descriptions

• Summer Learning Program – Boys and Girls Club of Santa Monica (Santa Monica, CA)

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica's Summer Learning Program model consists of four pillars: 21st Century Learning and Pathways, Social-Emotional Health, Healthy Lifestyles, and Good Citizenship and Leadership. Their mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The Summer Learning Program is designed to prevent summer learning loss while providing enrichment experiences over the summer. Youth participate in fun, project-based, and educational programming. Activities include STEM, art, tutoring for kids in summer school, career exploration, college preparation, leadership, fitness, healthy eating, and field trips.

• Summer Teen Academy – The Fresh Air Fund (New York, NY)

Following a 25-year history of introducing middle and high school students to career exploration, The Fund created career exposure, job readiness training, and internship and credentialing opportunities for teens to address barriers to summer employment and budget cuts to the Summer Youth Employment Program in New York City. In partnership with NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School); PennPraxis, the non-profit arm of the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania; Urban Arts Partnership; and Youthful Savings, teens ages 14-17 are introduced to industry-level skills in architecture, game design, and entrepreneurship, and learned directly from professionals in these fields.

• ICAN Summer Program – ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth (Chandler, AZ)

The objectives of the ICAN’s summer program are to provide youth with social-emotional support, engage them in fun academic and other activities, and keep them safe during the summer.

Curriculum taught includes STEAM with fun hands-on activities, Social Emotional Learning curriculum that includes team-building activities focusing on communication and connection, Academic Support that includes reading and literacy skill building to avoid learning loss, and Structured Sports and Recreation that promote physical activity, inclusion, and empowerment.

• Teachers in the Parks – Teachers in the Parks (Wyomissing, PA)

The Teachers in the Parks (TIPs) program goals are designed to be child and family-centered in meeting a core belief of helping children bridge the summer learning gap. They do this by meeting students where they naturally are over the summer months: in the parks, at the pool, enrolled in community recreational programs, and local daycares. Together, alongside local school districts and recreation programs, TIPs works to create relaxed summer learning environments in both our surrounding communities and in other states.

The Call for Summer Learning Award Submissions for 2023 opens October 24-December 9. Details will be posted in October on the NSLA website For more information about the Summer Learning Awards, visit

ICAN is a free youth center in the East Valley celebrating 30 years offering programs for youth, teens, families, and the community. ICAN’s nationally recognized prevention programming teaches vulnerable youth real-life skills including goal setting, positive decision making, and how to avoid the risky behaviors that are prevalent in the community ICAN serves. ICAN’s evidence-supported programming equips youth to achieve personal and academic success. ICAN was twice named “Outstanding Afterschool Program” by the Arizona Center for After School Excellence. For more information about ICAN, call (480) 821-4207 or visit

About the National Summer Learning Association
For nearly 30 years, NSLA has worked to combat summer learning loss and close the achievement and opportunity gaps which research shows grow most dramatically between lower and higher-income students over the summer months. Our vision is, and always has been, to ensure all young people in America, regardless of background, income, and zip code, can participate in and benefit from a high-quality summer learning experience, every year. NSLA supports and collaborates with a broad and ever-growing network of 15,000+ leaders of school districts, youth-serving government agencies, and non-profit and corporate partners from across the country focused on improving the lives of youth.