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Preteen African American girl holds African American female toddler at a park event in Portland, Oregon
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 24 May 2018

Summer is nearly here, though most Portland kids will have to wait a little longer before they’re done with school.

June 8 is the last day of school for Portland Public Schools students – and local community groups and government agencies have a variety of free and low-cost events available to fill kids’ schedules.

The Skanner News staff has compiled the following list of free summer programs for children in the Portland area.

Summer Reading at the Library

Babies, kids and teens can win prizes for making a daily reading habit and participate free live performances, arts and crafts and more this summer.

The Summer Reading game runs June 15 through August 31 and this year, teenagers can play online (though paper gameboards are still an option).

Participants can sign up for free in person starting June 15 at any Multnomah County library to get a gameboard. To play the game, they will color in one space for each day they read to a book. Each time they mark at least 15 days (they don’t have to be in a row!), bring the gameboard to the library to choose a prize.

Once participants have read 45 days total, they’ve completed the game. They can bring game boards to the library on or after July 29 to get a prize, a T-shirt (while supplies last), coupons for Oaks Park, Oregon Ballet Theatre and Oregon Children’s Theatre, and an entry in the Grand Prize drawing. Claim your prizes by August 31, 2018.

Teens can use the library’s mobile site to track their reading, or can use the paper game board to track every day they read about an hour or did challenge activities.

To learn more, visit the library's website.


Summer Learning Loss Prevention at the Boys & Girls Club 

Boys & Girls Club of Portland offers low-cost daily programming for youth throughout the summer and free summer learning loss prevention.

Summer learning loss prevention is offered at all sites for elementary kids daily, free of charge, to help children stay sharp academically throughout the summer – and no signup is required.

To learn more about this and other summer programs offered at Portland Boys & Girls Clubs, click here.


Portland Parks & Recreation Summer Free For All 

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s Summer Free For All (SFFA) series returns for 2018 beginning June 12, with outdoor citywide events all summer long. This year, Movies in the Park and Concerts in the Park will take place at 43 different parks across the city, and the Free Lunch + Play program will provide free lunches to youth while classes are not in session, in partnership with five local school districts.

To view a full schedule, visit portlandoregon.gov/parks/sffa. Schedules are available in English and eight other languages (Arabic, Burmese, Simple Chinese, Nepali, Russian, Spanish, Somali, and Vietnamese). A kickoff celebration will take place from 10:30 a.m. June 28 at Luuwit View Park, NE 127th Ave. and Fremont St.

Here’s a short list of what will be on offer at parks and community centers over the summer:

Movies in the Park: Portland Parks & Recreation is planning on showing around 35 Movies – including Coco, presented en español at the annual Festival Latino at the new Thomas Cully Park (grand opening on Saturday, June 30, 2018. 11:30 a.m. -4 p.m.). PP&R will present a Bollywood documentary shown in Hindi with English subtitles, Chak de! India on August 15 at Laurelhurst Park, in conjunction with Indian Independence Day.

Concerts in the Park: There are 30 free concerts on this year’s schedule, including music from Bloco Alegria (Rio-style samba), The Slants (Chinatown dance rock), Trujillo (Chicano rock), Portland Interfaith Gospel Choir (led by LaRhonda Steele), Speaker Minds (hip-hop and funk) and Dina y Los Rumberos (Cuban). 

Free Lunch + Play: PP&R expects to serve more than 100,000 free, healthy lunches to children this summer in parks, PP&R community centers, and an east Portland apartment complex. Fifty-seven percent of young Portlanders qualify for free or reduced-price lunch during the school year. Portland Parks & Recreation supports families by offering nutritious meals and recreational activities during the summer break from school. The Free Lunch + Play program is accompanied by sports, games, crafts, and family activities. For a full list of meal sites, visit https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/69873.

Note: This story has been edited to clarify information about the Boys & Girls Club's summer learning loss program. 

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