Home / Discover Your Spark: Your Guide to Summer & Afterschool Programs

Discover Your Spark: Your Guide to Summer & Afterschool Programs

If you are looking for free/affordable summery youth programs, then check out Discover Your Spark (http://DiscoverYourSpark.org). The free online directory is designed to connect busy parents and caregivers to quality afterschool and summer programs. The program announced today that it has more than 100 affordable summer programs listed in its searchable online directory just in time for summer 2021 planning.

Discover Your Spark: Your Guide to Summer & Afterschool Programs

Discover Your Spark makes it easy to search for fun, engaging and educational activities and programs for kids ages 4 to 18. New programs are added regularly, and include indoor and outdoor in-person and virtual programming options from across Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Activities like sports, arts, science and math and more are offered. Parents can search Discover Your Spark by specific criteria, such as grade, cost, zip code and focus to find programs that meet their child’s interest and the family’s schedule.

“Providers have worked hard to adjust to changing needs and are offering programming options that are in line with the interests of parents and kids. There is more need for children and youth to reconnect and restore their mental health and social connections. Arts, sports, STEM and other youth development activities give youth the outlets they need to learn and grow their skills for success,” said Sara Plachta Elliott, Ph.D, executive director for theYouth Development Resource Center, which manages Discover Your Spark.

“It can be hard for parents to find safe and affordable activities for kids when school is out. That’s where Discover Your Spark comes in. It helps parents research options from a wide array of providers that offer opportunities for kids to explore new interests and develop new social-emotional skills, like confidence and teamwork.”

Through an online March 2021 survey conducted by Discover Your Spark, 90 percent of parent and caregiver respondents indicated they were interested in some type of summer enrichment program, with nearly 50 percent of respondents specifically considering summer school for their child.

They also indicated programming opportunities of greatest interest and value this summer would be programs where youth can explore their interests and skills, strengthen their social skills and/or receive emotional support, have time with peers and build academic skills.

“Young people need holistic learning opportunities to help them grow and succeed in school and in the community. Discover Your Spark helps make sure they are better equipped to enter the new school year ready to learn,” said Tonya Adair, chief people, equity, and engagement officer, United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

“At a time when many families have experienced a shift in how children learn, it’s even more important that they can easily find resources near where they live. We are committed to helping children continue to learn and grow.”

Discover Your Spark can be used to connect parents and caregivers with academic skill building programs they may be looking for to help bolster a child’s academic development and address learning loss, also known as “summer slide.”

Research suggests that for children living in low-income communities throughout metro Detroit, the summer slide can be especially detrimental over the school break. Because of systemic inequities in education, Black and brown children are even more likely to need equitably expanded access to literacy and learning supports, such as quality summer and afterschool programs. By the end of fifth grade, some children are at greater risk of falling several grades behind in reading as compared to their peers living in more affluent communities. Expanded learning opportunities offered by providers through Discover Your Spark can make the difference for a child who is exploring their passions and developing their talents.

Discover Your Spark is supported by United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and The Skillman Foundation and is powered by the Youth Development Resource Center.