LearningWorks will be hosting February and April vacation camps in South Portland, Portland and Waterboro. Courtesy photo Molly Haley

SOUTH PORTLAND — LearningWorks, a Portland-based organization that specializes in educational opportunities, is offering February and April vacation camps at three locations for students in grades two through five.

February’s “Winter Wonderland” vacation camp will run Feb. 18-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and optional aftercare is available, said Katherine Sargent, development coordinator.

The camp will be offered at Kaler Elementary School in South Portland, Longfellow Elementary School in Portland, and Waterboro Elementary School, said Sargent. Parents can choose whichever location is most convenient, and a child doesn’t have to be a student at any of these schools to attend.

“We just place them at those schools because that’s where we thought there would be need, and we wanted to spread it out a little bit,” said Sargent. “They are all going to be following the same basic activities and schedule.”

Activities will include: “Snow-shoeing, making an ice cube on a string, Read to ME, which is a month-long program in which community members visit school programs to read stories and promote literacy, and Lego challenges,” she said. “There will be a make your own snowflake science experiment. They will also receive a visit from the 5210 Smoothie Bike — kids power a blender by riding the bicycle. And then, of course, they drink the healthy smoothies.”

The deadline to sign up for the “Winter Wonderland” camp is Feb. 10, she said.

Sargent said that this is the first year LearningWorks is offering vacation camps, and unlike the organization’s other programs, this one has a fee. Prices vary based on how many days a child attends during the week.

Parents can apply on LearningWorks’s website: www.learningworks.me.

“It’s new for us, but I really hope it’s going to be successful,” said Sargent. “The staff running it are super engaging. I feel like it will be really good so I’m excited to see how this turns out.”

According to Sargent, the group’s mission statement is that “LearningWorks is committed to strengthening the communities we serve by providing free community-based education programs for children, adults, and families throughout Southern Maine. Our primary goal is to support academic and personal success for our neighbors who lack resources and/or fall outside traditional educational structures. Our unique blend of academics, youth development, and social and emotional expertise makes it possible for us to transition our students from a place of struggle and hopelessness to a place of possibility and opportunity.”

The group offers 11 different after-school programs from Portland down to Waterboro that help students in academic need, said Sargent.

“Kids are identified by their teachers as being below their grade level in English and math,” she said. “They come after school and do rigorous but fun STEM curriculum. They’re up out of their seats, and in that program we see kids doing tremendous strides.”

LearningWorks also offers assistance to young adults who have dropped out of school, providing them a way to find a career, Sargent said.

“We also have a program for teens who are facing expulsion,” she said. “Instead of making them leave, where they can get into more trouble, we have them stay in school, and most of the time after school they go out into the community and do service projects to make amends for whatever infractions they may have caused.”

For more information about the South Portland camp, contact, Kathryn Bizier: [email protected]

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