Opening Doors to Opportunities

Like most teachers or adults working with students, you probably think often about the best way that you can help students learn new skills and develop as well-rounded individuals.  Maybe you want to help them develop their leadership capacity, or you want them to pursue their musical or artistic talents, or you know they would benefit from additional academic support outside of the school setting. There are numerous programs in and around the city of St. Louis that you can recommend, nominate and encourage your students (of all ages) to participate in.  I’ve done some of the legwork to compile a list of programs that offer free programs or scholarships to participate.  This is a great starting place, but I encourage you to tap into your networks with local nonprofit organizations and local colleges and universities to ensure that you are supporting your students access to new opportunities.

Happy Recommending!
Kim Townsend (STL ’03)
2013-14 TFA Alumni Advisory Board
Community Education Chair

City of St. Louis – Free Summer Camps
In conjunction with the city recreation centers and other local agencies, there are a number of summer camps for youth.  Check out the list here:

COCA offers classes for all ages in early childhood, art & design, dance, theatre, voice, and fitness. Summer Arts Camps build on these disciplines by adding culinary arts, circus skills, video production and more. COCA’s arts classes and camps are offered at its University City facility and at locations throughout the St. Louis area.  Financial aid is not available for summer camps, however all year-long programs offer financial aid with an application process that begins late summer.

St. Louis ArtWorks
St. Louis ArtWorks is a work training program that provides young adults, 14 through 19 years old, a year round opportunity to gain life skills, boost self-esteem and pocket a hard-earned paycheck. After a competitive application process, teens in the program (apprentices) work in teams to produce artwork which is  sold at a public sale, commissioned for public and private clients, and performed publicly.

  • Spring & Fall Programs: Weekdays after school 3:30 PM- 6 PM & Saturdays 10 AM to 3 PM 
  • Summer Program: Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM.
  • Boomerang Gang: Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5:30, as needed

Requirements to Apply:
■        Ages 14 to 18 (Must be 14 years old by January 1, 2014)
■        Must live in the greater St. Louis area
■        Must have an interest in art
■        Must be available to attend every day of the summer program (Monday-Friday, 6 weeks, 10 am to 3 pm)
■        March 21:  Application submission deadline
For more information contact the office at 314-289-4180 or

STL Youth Jobs Program
Stl Youth Jobs is an 8 – week summer employment program open to youth ages 16-23 living in the Dutchtown, Gravois Park, Tower Grove East, Mark Twain, Penrose, O’Fallon and Baden neighborhoods. The program, operated by MERS Goodwill, matches youth with meaningful employment opportunities as well as provides job readiness and financial literacy training.  The application for the 2014 program year will open on February 17th!

St. Louis Public Library Summer Reading Club
For more information, visit any Library location, the Library’s website at, or call 314-539-0384 or 314-539-0340. A library representative is also available to come to your school to share information with large groups of students and collect applications to participate in the summer reading club.

Studio STL
Studio STL is a nonprofit writing center dedicated to helping kids, ages 6-18, build their writing skills. We believe that writing is an indispensable life tool and that great success can be made with one-on-one attention. Designed to captivate both reluctant and super-motivated writers, our after-school writing, field trips, workshops, summer camp and publishing opportunities help kids embrace their inner super-star. Our programs are held at our Grand Center writing studio, which we have designed with the area’s best and brightest, as a creative place to nurture self-expression.

–  Young Writers Series: Grades K – 5
–  Middle School Series: Grades 6-8
–  Teen Milestone Series: Outreach program in conjunction with local high schools

Please send an e-mail to for more information.

Upward Bound
The Higher Education Consortium of Metropolitan St. Louis Upward Bound Program is funded through the U.S. Department of Education. Its primary purpose is to generate in program participants the skills and motivation necessary to complete a program of secondary education and to enter and succeed in a program of postsecondary education.  Services are provided primarily to students in St. Louis Public Schools (grades 9-12) who are low-income, first-generation college-ready, and have potential for postsecondary education.  For more information contact the central office at:
St. Louis Community College at Forest Park
5600 Oakland Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 951-9477

YWCA Summer Enrichment Academy
Our long-running summer camp, Camp Derricotte, has sharpened its focus, and has transformed into one of the only summer camps in St. Louis to focus on S.T.E.M. education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)! Now called the Summer Enrichment Academy, the summer camp is located at Jackson Park Elementary in University City, and is now accepting applications for boys & girls ages 5 – 12. To learn more about our revitalized summer programming, including fees, financial aid and more, please take a look at the camp flyer.

Fontbonne University
camp F.R.E.S.H Join us for a summer of NEW adventures as we explore cuisine and culture around the globe. campF.R.E.S.H.® at Fontbonne University takes kids entering 4th through 7th grade on an interactive, hands-on journey toward better health through activities emphasizing nutrition, wellness, physical exercise, and creativity. This year, we will experience games and sports from around the world. Grab your passports! Each week-long day camp features a different continent, from Antarctica to South America, with stops along the way to learn about the unique lifestyles of kids around the globe. campF.R.E.S.H.® is an opportunity for kids entering 4th through 7th grade to travel the world without leaving St. Louis. The camp program begins at 8am and ends at 5pm.


  • Campers must be entering 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th grade in the fall. There are 10 slots per week for 4th and 5th graders and 10 slots per week for 6th and 7th graders.
  • Camp fees are $150 per week per camper and scholarships are available for campers who qualify for the free or reduced meals in the School Lunch Program. Documentation from the camper’s home school indicating the camper is eligible for free or reduced lunches can serve as proof of eligibility.
  • Campers are required to complete a health history form at the time of registration.
  • All required forms are available on the website listed above.

For questions, please call Mary Beth Ohlms, Camp Director at (314) 719-8083 or send an email to

Harris-Stowe State University
2014 Academy for Science and Mathematics: The Institute for Science & Mathematics ensures that Harris-Stowe students are supported through effective academic tutoring in mathematics and science along with other initiatives designed in collaboration with faculty and staff to enhance their collegiate experience.  Deadline: Feb 28, 2014

• Students majoring in biology, mathematics or teacher education with an emphasis in mathematics or science are invited to apply to the program. Additionally, students must have a cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or better and be admitted to HSSU for the 2014 fall semester.
• Exciting five-week pre-college program that will strengthen science and math content for first-year HSSU students.
• Program highlights
-Summer room and board at no cost.
-Exciting weekly science field experiences.
-HSSU faculty mentoring and research opportunities.
• Academy participants will reside on HSSU’s campus with all expenses paid during the five-week Academy for Science & Mathematics.
• Academy participants will receive a $1,000 stipend.  (Upon completion of the Academy and officially enrolling at HSSU.)
• Contact Dr. Tommie Turner at (314) 340-5955 or for more information.

St. Louis University
–  K-5 Little Medical School: The Little Medical School brings medicine, science and the importance of health to children in a fun and entertaining way. Through interactive demonstrations, crafts and games, kids learn how the body and organs work, how to use doctors’ instruments and even how to administer first aid.
–  1st – 6th Grade Camp Invention: We’re building the future, one thinker at a time. Camp Invention runs for one action-packed week. Each day, campers work in teams as they rotate between four fun thematic modules. Each module brings new challenges to build upon what was learned the previous day. Just imagine what your child could experience: collaborate to build prototypes, following the example of National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, Upcycle and re-engineer with gears and gadgets, developing critical thinking skills and creativity and explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) enrichment, motivating a group to develop solutions to real-world problems.
–  11th and 12th Grade Sports Business: The Sports Business Academy is a special program developed to introduce rising high school juniors and seniors to the business of sports. During the four-day program student are introduced to basic business concepts related to sports through presentations by faculty and industry professionals. In-class discussions, field trips and a group project are some of the highlights of the academy. On the final day, teams compete for prizes and present their final projects to a panel of judges. Applications accepted on a competitive basis.

UM-St. Louis

The Service Academy is a highly selective 6-week summer program for High School students interested in volunteer opportunities at UMSL. It’s designed to provide high school student volunteers with invaluable workforce skills and experience, as well as provide the university with quality, dedicated volunteers.  Additional information regarding the program and an updated listing of possible volunteer placements is available on our website.  The 2014 Application is now available. If you have questions contact Elizabeth Pawloski at or call 314-516-4107. The deadline for completed applications is March 14, 2014.

  • The Bridge Program Summer Academy
  • •The Bridge Program Summer Academy is held from mid- June to mid-July for students in grades 9 and 10. The Summer Academy offers academic enrichment courses in mathematics, science, written and oral communication, career research, personal and professional development and college planning. Academic Skills Workshops include Math, Science and Writing:
  • •Students participate in critical thinking activities designed to enhance their ability to perform well on college entrance exams.
  • Gateway Writing Project – Youth Writing Festival
  • •Every fall, GWP hosts a writing festival for middle school students on the UMSL campus. In the spring, GWP sponsors a writing festival for elementary students.
  • •The writing festivals are an opportunity to…
  • •• play with voices and words
  • •• share writing
  • •• celebrate yourself as a writer
  • •• create poetry, fiction, and memoirs
  • •For more information, download our brochure.
  • Download Middle School Brochure

Washington University in St. Louis
2014 High School Summer Scholars Program for Current 10th – 12th Graders
Experience all facets of college life in our High School Summer Scholars Program, open to current high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. As a participant in this selective five-week program, enroll in two undergraduate courses taught by Washington University faculty and study alongside college students. Select from a broad range of stimulating introductory undergraduate courses in the humanities, math, sciences, and social sciences, or choose from one of our suggested pre-professional course options, designed to jump start  your exploration of a specific area of interest or possible career path. The credit you earn can be transferred to most accredited colleges or universities.

2014 High School Summer Institutes for Current 9th – 12th Graders
High School Summer Institutes are non-credit, academic institutes that specialize in an area of interest or field of study. Institutes combine traditional class and lab curriculum with organized field trips, guest lectures, and hands-on activities in order for you to gain valuable academic and career experience.

Deadline: April 1, 2014 – $35 application fee after Feb 15th
To be eligible for a High School Summer Experience you should:

  • Be a current high school student (check individual programs for specific age requirements).
  • Have an academic average of B+ or better.
  • Have at least ONE of the following:
  •       –a combined SAT score of at least 1800
  •       –a combined PSAT of 180
  •       –an ACT or PLAN composite score of at least 25
  • •If you have not taken any of these tests, please submit an additional letter of recommendation from a teacher.
  • As an international applicant, have an internet-based TOEFL score of at least 90, or an IELTS score of at least 7.

University of Missouri, Columbia – Columbia, MO

  • Truman Leadership Project
  • •The Truman Leadership Project is a one-week summer day camp for middle-school age students that explores leadership skills, civic involvement, and community service through the University of Missouri’s four core values: Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence. For more information about the camp, please go to their website.
  • •Application Deadline: Sunday, June 01, 2014 – AVAILABLE MARCH 2014
  • MAC (Minority Achievement Committee) Scholars
  • •The MAC (Minority Achievement Committee) Scholars Summer Academy is conducted jointly by the Columbia Public Schools (CPS) and the University of Missouri (MU). Fifty CPS rising 10th grade students participate in a two week program designed to enhance college readiness and acquaint students with the resources of the university. Students are introduced to various academic programs including medicine, law, business, education, journalism, and nursing. Parents are also included in portions of the program and receive information on the college admissions process and financial aid.  Application Deadline: Friday, April 11, 2014

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