It was so nice to meet in person for the first time since March!  Happy dollars were flowing on Friday with members sharing news and celebrating being back at The Pirates House.  President Laura Lane McKinnon reminded everyone that 2nd Quarter dues were sent out and to please pay promptly.  Once all Rotary business items were discussed, Laura Lane introduced our speaker for the day, Christy Edwards with Horizon Savannah.  
Christy began her presentation saying that education has been upended during this time of Covid and talked about what that means to the most vulnerable students.  Due to COVID, many students have had a pause in their education and the gap between those who have and those who haven't will widen over time.  Studies have shown that average or low quality online learning is worse than the risk of in person learning.  Children tend to learn through experiences which help stoke their curiosity.  
At the core, Horizons wants to create a safe space where kids can be successful.  There are 61 Horizons centers throughout the country.  This past year, Horizons Savannah was able to educate 300 students grades K-8th in their six week summer learning program.  The program in Savannah offers STEM based education as well as social and emotional learning and swim lessons.  Horizons Savannah has a 90% retention rate.  In order to become a part of the program, children must apply and meet a financial need.  Then, it becomes a lottery system as to who will be accepted.  All activities take place at private schools in town: St Andrew's, Savannah Country Day, Savannah Christian, or Bethesda Academy.  Due to COVID, Horizons had to pivot in the spring in order to provide online summer programs.  Each child who was enrolled received a grade level backpack with activities.  They also distributed 70 devices and 20 wifi hotspots.  Horizons is a free program for the students.  
In conclusion, Christy said that the way we can all be helpful during this time is to help children with their mindsets.  A lot of children believe that if you can't do it, then you must not be smart enough.  However, Christy believes in the growth mindset meaning that your intelligence can change because minds are malleable.  To learn more about Horizons, please visit