PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – From yellow to blue, paint quickly fills a canvas in front of an animated audience of elementary students.
“Maybe that’s a moment that tells a kid, ‘wow I love art and now I’m going to have a future in art,'” said Aimee Watters, who’s the Executive Director for Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Cool Conditions After Cold Front Brings Severe Storms
There are 340 students spread throughout the McKeesport school buildings. It’s summer vacation, but they are back after a student pitched the idea of a school summer camp to Dick’s Sporting Goods executives.
“He came to us and said, ‘look, if you are looking for a way to help, the summer is a perfect opportunity. We don’t have a structured place to go be safe and be productive,'” Watters said.
It’s the beginning of a partnership for a Pittsburgh corporation that was looking to invest back into its local community.
“With underserved communities oftentimes come underserved and underfunded schools, so this is an opportunity to not have underfunded programs,” said McKeesport Area School District Superintendent Dr. Mark Holtzman.READ MORE: Judge Denies Robert Bowers' Motion For Govt. To Produce Evidence It Monitored His Online Activities
While it is some fun and games, the big focus is academics and addressing the ramifications of the pandemic.
“The learning loss is a reference made by many people about how much children may have suffered academically and developmentally, and this is a chance for us to bridge that gap a little bit,” Holtzman said.
It was a battle for a spot as hundreds of families saw the positive benefit to their child.
“It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime activities. I’ve never seen anything like this in education in my time,” Holtzman said.MORE NEWS: Pa. Native, Penn State Grad Carl Nassib Comes Out As First Openly Gay Active NFL Player
This may be just the first step. Holtzman told KDKA there are multiple ideas on the table for more opportunities down the line for these kids.