December 22, 2014

Special camp helps students with academic, personal skills

Ninety students from across the state that are in a development program called “GEAR Up” will take part in a special camp this weekend. Heather Doe of Iowa College Aid, says the kids in the program come from schools that have 50-percent or more of their students on free or reduced price lunches. The camp continues efforts to help these kids overcome disadvantages they already face.

“These students will be juniors in the fall, so we’re really trying to keep these kids all on track toward continuing education after high school, and this is just another way to kind of help prepare them,” Doe explains. “This Quantum Learning Camp will give them a week’s experience with other students learning some academic-type of skills, as well as some personal confidence building types of things.”

Many kids attend sports camps in the summer to improve their athletic skills, and Doe says it’s the same idea for this camp — but the focus is on other areas of their life. “What’s really kind of unique about this is they’re going to go through everything from learning things that are going to help them improve their reading and memory skills and writing and note-taking, as well as focusing on teamwork and helping them build trust and self confidence and self worth, all with helping to give them tools that are going to help them overcome any type of academic or kind of personal barriers that they may have as they go along their education path,” Doe says.

The Quantum Learning Camp is funded through a federal grant. Doe says the kids have been in the GEAR Up program since seventh grade and this will help them push through the final high school year. “So these students who have gone the program, taken advantage of these types of opportunities through GEAR Up Iowa — if they stay on track to graduate on time in 2014 — all of them will get a scholarship to help them pay for their college,” Doe says.

The scholarships for college are based on need and are a minimum of $500 to paying the full cost of college. The 90 students going to the camp at the University of Iowa come from the 5,700 overall students in the GEAR Up program. They live in cities across the state, including Sioux City, Denison, Council Bluffs, Perry, Des Moines, Marshalltown, Cedar Rapids, Ottumwa, Columbus Junction, Clinton, Davenport, Keokuk and Camanche.

For more information about GEAR UP Iowa or the Quantum Learning Program, go to: www.gearupiowa.gov.