Good Samaritan Community Services

Good Samaritan Community Services Receives 2017 New York Life Foundation Excellence in Summer Learning Award

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Good Samaritan Community Services (GSCS) is a recipient of the 2017 Excellence in Summer Learning Award from the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA). Recognized from a pool of 103 applicants across the nation, the Camp Good Sam Summer Learning Program provides a rich, six-week, curriculum-based program for at-risk youth to enhance their learning and reduce “summer slide.” The current Camp Good Sam model has evolved since 2011 and integrates the reading of popular, young-adult fiction into a series of activities to enhance educational achievement, reduce risk factors, explore college and career pathways, promote leadership development, and engage families. This summer, more than 900 children are participating in Camp Good Sam programs across five South Texas cities, including San Antonio, Brownsville, Sonora, McAllen and Wimberley.

“On behalf of Good Samaritan Community Services and the Board, we are honored to be recognized as an exceptional program in the communities that we serve,” said Will A. Hileman, Chairman of GSCS. “Our mission is to change lives and it is our privilege to serve our communities’ emerging leaders.”
Jennifer Cook, Director of Program Operations, said, “We want to ensure that our students receive the resources, positive motivation and support they need to continue to thrive over the summer.” She also noted that, “All of our programs for youth enhance student engagement in school and out of school, and we also promote student achievement in the upcoming school year by providing an active summer learning program.”
“The six weeks of Camp Good Sam go by quickly for our students, but the outcomes they achieve from their interaction and engagement with our team of instructors and counselors is foundational,” said Simon Salas, GSCS CEO. “We have a dedicated group of men and women whose sole purpose during Camp Good Sam is to help a student find their spark.
Research shows that the math and reading skills low-income students lose each summer are cumulative and contribute significantly to the achievement gap with higher-income students. A survey conducted by NSLA indicated that two-thirds of teachers said they spend at least a month re-teaching old material to students when they return from summer vacation.
GSCS is honored to be chosen as the 2017 New York Life Insurance Company Foundation Excellence in Summer Learning Award by the NSLA and to be recognized as an outstanding summer program demonstrating excellence in accelerating academic achievement. For more information, view the NSLA Press Release HERE or contact Emily Vandewalle at

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