By Kristine Sorensen

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Now’s the time to figure out what kids can do this summer to keep their minds active and to keep them out of trouble, and there’s a comprehensive website and job fairs that will help.

The city of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and an organization called APOST, which stands for Allegheny Partners for Out of School Time, have collaborated to create a website where families can go to find more than 1,000 programs and jobs for young people. It’s called “Summer ’18.”

“Pittsburgh has so much to offer in the summer for families, and we want to be sure every young person has an opportunity to take part,” says Kathryn Vargas, director of APOST, which is an initiative of the United Way.

Whether it’s swimming or sports, painting or dancing, summer can be a time to try new things. Vargas says the “Summer ’18” website includes programs for kids, pre-k through high school, to keep them engaged in the summer. One study found kids can lose 25 to 30 percent of their school-year learning over the summer, but things like reading and summer programs can counteract that.

“It doesn’t have to be academic, but something that is keeping young people active and using their summer purposely really makes a difference in terms of going back to school ready to learn, ready to go,” Vargas says.

In the summer of 2016, 22,000 kids participated in one of these summer programs at least five times. The next year, it was 27,000, and this summer, they’re hoping for 30,000 kids.

In addition to the many summer programs on the Summer ’18 website, the site also has information on food, free county programs like concerts, events for the whole family and a special jobs program for high schoolers called “Learn and Earn.” That’s an initiative of Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald with the help of local businesses and grants.

Fitzgerald says, “Last year, 350 businesses participated and over 2,000 young people in Allegheny County got to see what it’s like to go to work every day for six weeks, to get there on time, to learn skills, to work as a team and to be productive.”

Mayor Peduto adds, “By creating these opportunities, you’re creating more than an opportunity for a summer. You’re creating an opportunity for a life.”

Teenagers can get a jump start on applying for a summer job by attending a job fair to kick off “Summer ’18” and “Learn and Earn.” It’s on Wednesday, April 11, on the North Side at CoLab18 at “Nova Place” (100 S. Commons, Pittsburgh PA 15212) from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Teenagers can come and learn about many different summer jobs, and career readiness workshops will be held for kids ages 12-15.

This is the first of 10 events that will be happening all over Pittsburgh to promote the opportunities for jobs and programs this summer. You can learn about more on the APOST Summer ’18 website, where you’ll also find the full list of programs: http://www.pghsummer18.org

For more stories on all kinds of positive things in our community for kids and families, go to:
https://www.kidsburgh.org/

Kristine Sorensen