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With schools closed for months and the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on the normalcy of life, we knew our typical summer learning and enrichment programming would not be the same in summer 2020.

As we spoke to our early childhood CBO partners and to the parents of the students we were following from the previous summer, it became abundantly clear our focus needed to be on supporting the family unit as they heroically tried to manage this unprecedented upheaval in their lives. Never has the inequity of the summer time-frame been so apparent and concerning.


Historically, summer vacation represents significant disparities in opportunities to: learn, grow socially and emotionally, stay safe, stay physically active and healthy, and remain connected to a community. In summer 2020, this reality was exacerbated much earlier and to a greater degree.


It is from this context that the GRSLA Summer 2020 Family Support Initiative (FSI) was developed and implemented. The FSI focused on 130 rising kindergarteners who had participated in summerLEAP the previous summer, and whose PreK year was severely disrupted when the schools closed in March.


As we began our weekly home visits, we found amazing examples of commitment, of deep love and concern for their children, and resourceful ways in which parents were dealing with all of the changes and expectations. We gave voice to this commitment by families in our annual Snapshot publication, in both the many quotes throughout the newsletter as well as the “Front Porch Portraits” capturing the strength and beauty of the families we served.


It was a challenging but fun-filled summer we will not soon forget. We thank the parents who participated, our funders and supporters who provided the resources to make it happen, and the GRSLA/summerLEAP team for their commitment to the families of our community.


I enjoyed everything! I appreciate the interaction opportunity it gave me with my son . . . he loved that I engaged with him.

My favorite part of the program was getting to do experiments with my children and seeing the look on their faces while learning.

This program was amazing! The level of engagement and learning was great, especially during the COVID summer.


Delivering the summerLEAP learning materials directly to families' homes gave us the opportunity to interface with families from a safe social distance on a weekly basis! Delivery days were highly anticipated and filled with great conversations with families, excitement, and smiles!


During a typical summer, our PreK summerLEAP classrooms feature six engaging science units. We adapted these lessons to an at-home format! This summer's family-friendly Science at Home units included Air, Five Sensess, Light, Magnets & Chemistry, Plants, and Water.


Unstructured play is how children learn best, and it gives kids and caregivers a chance to decompress during stressful times. Our Play at Home kits featured materials such as bouncy balls, bubbles, bug catchers, chalk, construction paper, crayons, Playdoh, stickers, and more!


Each child received a children's toothbrush, toothpaste, a laminated tooth brushing chart, and exercise and yoga choice boards used during Zoom calls. These curriculum additions encouraged students to engage in physical activity while at home.

2020 By the Numbers


families served


face-to-face visits

thumb-to-thumb contacts


ear-to-ear contacts


thumb-to-thumb contacts


Science at Home kits distributed


Play at Home kits distributed


YouTube videos created


interactive Zoom sessions


books distributed


miles traveled for home visits

Front Porch Portraits / The Power of Family
2020 Program Partners
  • Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County

  • Education Success Foundation

  • Headwater Food Hub

  • Perez Sisters Photography

  • ROC the Future

  • WXXI Education and Family Engagement / Learning At Home Initiative

2020 Funding Partners
  • Mr. & Mrs. Joseph C. Briggs

  • Brighter Days Foundation

  • Canandaigua National Bank and Trust

  • Cristino Perez

  • Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation

  • Episcopal Diocese of Rochester

  • ESL Charitable Foundation

  • Marion and Harry Fulbright Fund at the Rochester Area Community Foundation

  • The Hallowell Fund at the Rochester Area Community Foundation

  • William & Sheila Konar Foundation

  • M&T Charitable Foundation

  • Les Knox Family

  • NYS Upstate Revitalization Initiative/FLREDC

  • The Pickhardt Family

  • Rochester Area Community Foundation

  • Rochester's Child at the Rochester Area Community Foundation

  • Richard and Vicki Schwartz

  • Mr. & Mrs. Michael Tomaino

  • United Way of Greater Rochester

  • Erik & Judy von Bucher

Check out our 2020 SNAPSHOT!
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