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SUMMER FUN: Charlotte County Public Schools starts free enrichment program

'Elevate Charlotte' saves families money on meals and child care.
Elevate Charlotte
Posted at 6:25 PM, Jun 18, 2024

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Charlotte County Public Schools has a new way to keep students engaged while school is out for summer.

Your Charlotte County Community Correspondent Victoria Scott spent her day with students and staff who are taking part in "Elevate Charlotte."

It's a new summer enrichment program that's meant to introduce students to new interests and hobbies.

"Instead of the kids maybe sitting at home or not being able to do much, watching TV, playing video games, now being part of Elevate Charlotte, they've been able to be exposed to more topics and interests they normally would have not been interested in," said Elevate Charlotte Site Director Meridith Meerman.

Students do projects, play music, and do a number of other activities outside.

Scott spoke to some of them about the program.

"I've really enjoyed playing and creating with the children here," said Jordan Xavier. "We ended up making clay and making blankets, which I haven't really done before."

"I've made a lot of rackets and a couple of other crafts," Paisley Kuhn told Scott.

"I'm learning the ukulele," said Dillon Kloor.

Staff also said it helps families financially; it provides free child care and meals.

"We've gone ahead and we're feeding the kids breakfast and lunch every day," Meerman said.

Charlotte County Public Schools officials told Scott it doesn't cost the taxpayer a dime, either.

School staff said it's being covered with leftover money from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which was part of the 'CARES Act' after COVID.

However, this year is just the beginning. The goal is to hold it every summer.

"We would love for this to happen again," Meerman said. "We would love to bring Elevate Charlotte back every school year, but it depends on our funding."

The elementary program wraps up the week of June 18. The middle and high school program stops at the end of June.