This summer the youngest child to teenagers will have opportunities to participate in learning in creative and fun ways due to two different grants being managed by United Way. A continuation of the Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education Afterschool and Out of School Time - Rebound (ASOST-R) funds were made available to local nonprofits, schools and municipalities that offer summer programs for underserved youth. United Way of South Central MA awarded over $106,000 to six programs that applied. The second grant is Summer Step Up provided by the Department of Early Education and Care and will provide over $100,000 to two programs.


  • Family Services - Summer Literacy Initiative-South County $20,000
  • Old Sturbridge Academy - Summer IEP Program $13,862
  • Our Bright Future - STEMing Into Sports Summer Program $35,600
  • Southbridge Recreation Department -- Summer Program $5,000
  • Tri-Valley, Inc. - Office Staff Training for Teens Program $10,185
  • WCAC Head Start - Summer Enrichment $21,515

Summer Step Up

  • Burgess Elementary School - Summer Program - $100,000
  • Tri-Community Family Branch YMCA - Childcare program - $9,000

Part of the ASOST-R grant is rebounding students to learning post pandemic. Providing stimulating programs that brings students of all abilities and backgrounds to have a positive experience and regaining some learned skills that may been lost. This is true for the Old Sturbridge Academy Summer program for their special needs students. Providing access to summer learning provides access to continuation of acquired skills and keep them engaged and ready for the new school year.

Another outcome for ASOST-R is allowing children to thrive in an environment that fosters creative thinking such as the campers at OBF's STEMing into Sports do with learning code for robotics and 3D printing is beyond what they may be exposed to during the school year. It encourages these students to think critically and work together to problem solve and produce a product that works all the while having fun doing it!

For the younger children in our community WCAC Head Start in Webster and Southbridge is provided enough funds to bring in special programs to engage these preschoolers, as well as give them a chance to go on field trips. Hands on learning is critical to success for these young minds.

For the teens in our community, Southbridge Recreation is offering new experiences for day campers and Tri-Valley, Inc. is providing real life job skills training. Family Services has started a new literacy program at the YMCA Tri-Community Family Branch for children who are attending the weekly camps located at the Everett St. location. The students there are getting extra summer reading help in a fun and engaging way. This helps them sustain or improve their reading skills for when they return to the classroom later this summer. The same program is held at the Webster-Dudley Boys and Girls Club, which is their second year there.

Summer Step Up is a program aimed at giving extra support to young learners entering school in the fall. Young children will be able to take part in summer learning opportunities developed in conjunction with community partners to help prepare them for school. This is the second year Burgess has received this funding providing a free summer experience for all grades. The YMCA has partnered with Southbridge Public Schools with providing their preschool students an opportunity to meet and learn from Kindergarten and Grade 1 teachers from Eastford Rd. School.