The Safe Harbor Children’s Center is thrilled to announce the resounding success of its Summer Enrichment Program, led by the dedicated teacher Terri Hill, in bridging the academic gaps faced by many of its residents. The program has played a pivotal role in bringing the children up to par with their peers, enabling them to thrive academically.

Safe Harbor’s residents often enter the center with significant academic deficits spanning two years or more. Terri Hill shared an astonishing example, stating, “We had a resident who was entering the ninth grade but could only read at a second-grade level.” Terri’s unwavering goal is to bridge these academic gaps and provide educational opportunities for the children of Safe Harbor.

Thanks to the generous Boost Grant secured by Kathy Flournoy, Safe Harbor’s Grant Writer, and the visionary leadership of Leslie Hartman, Executive Director, the two-year summer enrichment program has received substantial funding. This invaluable support allows the program to run two hours a day, four days a week, with the assistance of three additional tutors throughout the summer months.

At the beginning of the summer, a comprehensive survey is conducted to assess the children’s current academic standing. Reflecting on last summer’s findings, Terri recalled, “We quickly discovered that the children knew close to nothing about the United States. So, we decided to focus on U.S. geography, and, by the end of the summer, they could point out California on a map and understood that Los Angeles is a city, not a state.”

Building upon the resounding success of the previous year, this summer’s program will expand its focus to explore global geography. Terri’s innovative approach includes incorporating Legos into the lessons, inspired by a resident’s passionate hobby of building with Legos. “When this resident arrived at Safe Harbor, he had one suitcase, and three-quarters of it was filled with Legos,” Terri explained. To accommodate his unique learning style, the program ordered Lego sets, and to Terri’s delight, all the children eagerly embraced learning with Legos. Over the past week, they collaborated to construct renowned landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, The Statue of Liberty, and Big Ben.

In addition to the captivating Lego activities, the Summer Enrichment Program offers a diverse range of interactive lessons, including gardening, painting, and educational field trips to historical landmarks. This summer, the children embarked on enriching adventures to Savannah’s Maritime Museum, participated in Jekyll Island’s Historic Trolley Tour, and explored Blythe Island’s campground and lakes.

Terri Hill consistently explores innovative methods to captivate the children’s attention and nurture their passion for learning. Through this exceptional program, children at Safe Harbor Children’s Center have been empowered to reach the same level as their peers, regardless of the barriers they have faced in the past.