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United Way of New York City launches free program to combat 'summer slide'

United Way of New York City
/ Source: TODAY

Summer is in full swing and finding ways to keep kids occupied is getting harder and harder.

The infamous “summer slide” is especially felt by disadvantaged kids, who don’t have access to summer educational programs, which can result in a decline in skills learned throughout the school year.

According to the United Way of New York City, research shows that the majority of kids lose about two months of math and reading skills over summer because they aren’t actively practicing this type of curriculum.

In an effort to combat this issue, the organization has created a free six-week-long camp program called “Once Upon A Summer,” aimed at helping children expand their minds during the season.

The program offers everything from reading tutors to art, music and dance classes, along with free meals throughout the day so kids can focus on learning.

Parents are given the tools to help children continue the lessons at home, so that everyone is included and involved.

"Summer learning loss and literacy is an incredibly important issue, and we're thrilled to be able to help students each year through Once Upon A Summer, part of our ReadNYC campaign to promote grade-level reading," said Sheena Wright, president and CEO of United Way of New York City. "Reading at grade-level is one of the largest predictors of high school graduation and the ability of students to reach self-sufficiency as adults, and the summer is a critical time to keep kids engaged with reading material that is culturally relevant and exciting."

To learn more about the program and get involved, visit