The Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren is participating the Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be provided to all children without charge.

Meals will be provided at the club at 1403 City Park Road.

June 9 through July 25, the Van Buren School District will provide breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The boys and girls club will offer a snack from 2:30 to 3 p.m.

July 28 through Aug. 1, the breakfast and lunch will be provided by the club.

The club will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday until Aug. 1. It offers two learning centers, two game rooms, art room, gymnasium and technology room, according to Cindy Faldon, executive director.

"One of the newest program added to the summer lineup is the Summer Brain Gain," Faldon said. "The summer learning loss prevention program was developed specifically for boys and girls clubs."

Each summer, an estimated 43 million children in the U.S. miss out on expanded learning opportunities that could prevent them from falling behind before the next school year begins, Faldon said.

During summer, most youth lose about two months’ worth of math skills. Low-income youth also lose more than two months’ worth of reading skills, while their middle-class peers make slight gains.

"Summer learning losses can stack up from year to year, causing low-income children to fall further and further behind, ultimately endangering their chances of high school graduation," Faldon said. "We are committed to ensuring that Van Buren Boys and Girls Club youth, especially those who need us most, graduate from high school on time with a plan for the future. That’s why we are offering the Summer Brain Gain program to fight the detrimental effect of summer learning loss."

Summer Brain Gain is comprised of 17 one-week modules with fun, themed activities for elementary school, middle school and high school students. Supported by Disney, each module takes a project-based learning approach; youth engage in a process of learning through discovery, creative expression, group work and a final project or production.

With modules topics such as "Green Team," "Wacky Watch" and "Connect the Dots," participants can make sculptures out of found objects, create weather in a bottle, or even learn how they are connected to the president of the United States. Summer Brain Gain was pilot tested in more than 200 clubs in 2013. While the average low-income U.S. student lost at least two months of learning last summer, the average Summer Brain Gain participant did not.

Given this positive impact, Summer Brain Gain will be offered at 1,000 boys and girls clubs across the country this summer.

In addition, Van Buren Boys and Girls Club will pilot test Summer Brain Gain: Read!, a literacy program that complements the larger Summer Brain Gain curriculum, this summer. Supported by Staples, Summer Brain Gain: Read! is a 12-week summer reading program to improve the reading skills of youth with a new book presented each week per age group, along with supporting activities. In addition to two 30-minute reading sessions each week, members complete fun activities that bring the book to life.