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Saturday, May 26, 2018
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More Pinellas students get help from Summer Bridge

— The Pinellas County school district’s second iteration of Summer Bridge has attracted more than 11,000 students with its hands-on education programs, and the bigger demand has led to a bigger commitment from the Juvenile Welfare Board.

JWB is providing an additional $175,000 to allow more children to attend Summer Bridge, a free program for eligible students in need of school credits or extra summer tutoring.

The publicly funded organization already has invested more than $2 million in wrap-around services for about 2,000 students enrolled in the program, but the new investment will allow another 250 elementary students on the waiting list for child-care services to attend.

JWB will provide before and after care for Summer Bridge students Monday through Friday. The board will provide child care for the remaining four weeks of summer, providing working parents a “seamless, safe and quality option for their child’s summer care,” JWB spokesman Joseph Gallina said.

This year’s Summer Bridge enrollment is nearly double last year’s.

The program operates five hours a day, Monday through Thursday for six weeks during summer school break.

“Wrap-around services are designed to give more children the opportunity to participate in Summer Bridge,” Dr. Marcie Biddleman, executive director of the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, said in a prepared statement.

“JWB’s investments allow more children access to Summer Bridge, so working parents can be assured their children are receiving high-quality care with social and recreational services that round out their child’s academic day, week and summer.”

The JWB’s wrap-around services are available at every elementary school offering Summer Bridge and are operated by R’Club, YMCA of the Suncoast, YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, and the city of Largo.

To qualify for the program, students must be eligible for free or reduced price school lunches.

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