Summer Programs for Youth


Program Overview

Summer Programs for Youth at Mayo Street Arts include K-1 Morning Tutoring, the RAD! program, and the free lunch program.

2019 summer programs have been made possible in part by the Brick and Beam Society of the United Way of Greater Portland, the Opportunity Alliance, East End Community School, LearningWorks, the Horizon Foundation, The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, and Mayo Street Arts.

The goal is to provide a vibrant, safe and inspiring center of summer learning that helps children ages 5-11 reach grade reading level. The program engages youth in the arts, builds community in the East Bayside and surrounding neighborhoods, and is accessible to low income families in the community.


Most children live within walking distance and reside at nearby public housing. Many children and their families are English language learners and speak multiple languages. Many parents are in the process of assimilating, finding work, and navigating a new life.


K-1 Morning Tutoring provides tutoring, teaching, reading, games, and lunch, taught by East End Community School staff. The morning tutoring program is a pilot program addressing a gap in summer learning for rising kindergarten and first grade students who will benefit from summer learning. 2019 will be the third year of the program. The program serves up to 20 students ages 5-7 each day with an average attendance number of 9.  The program is taught by two East End Community School staff with help from AmeriCorps volunteers.


RAD! (Reading, Art, Dance!) provides a literacy-rich environment with a focus on reading and the arts. Students receive reading and writing instruction, lunch, and daily arts enrichment activities like music, dance, and puppet theater. This will be the fourth summer of the program. RAD! serves up to 30 students ages 7 to 11 each day with an average attendance of 18 students. RAD! is taught by one lead teacher and two assistant teachers, with additional support from AmeriCorps volunteers.

The program is unique in that it provides curriculum for students of varied ages, languages, and reading abilities. Increase in reading enjoyment is a primary goal, whether students read on their own, with help from an adult, or simply listen to stories with a group. Students discuss books they read, write and share their own stories, and eventually volunteer to read to others. Students participate in the Portland Public Library’s Summer Reading program, and receive visits from the Bookmobile each week.

Puppet parade at National Night Out. Photo by MSA Staff.

Students create their own performances for the end of summer celebration, National Night Out. In 2018 students built their own kites and took a trip by boat across Casco Bay to Bug Light Park to fly their kites, and will repeat the boating/kiting tradition this summer.


The free lunch program provides important healthy nutrition for children who may be food insecure or not otherwise have access to healthy meals. Lunch was provided by Opportunity Alliance.


The program was free by invitation, with priority to new Mainers and students who may not otherwise have access to a summer learning program. Students were invited by teachers and staff at Mayo Street Arts and

East End School, with recommendations from Community Policing, Learning Works, Portland Housing, and other community stakeholders.

Enrollment began in April and due to the popularity of the program some students were waitlisted. Over the course of the summer, we were able to accommodate most of the students on the waitlist due to shifting attendance. This summer turned out higher average attendance rates and less attrition of students over the course of the program compared with previous years.


AmeriCorps volunteers placed through LearningWorks assist with tutoring, reading, arts activities, lunch, and field trips in the morning and afternoon programs. Past volunteers have helped with ‘walking school buses’ to get children safely to and from the programs. Many volunteers are already familiar with students and teachers through school year placements at East End Community School.


Mayo Street Arts coordinates a summer consortium of arts programming partners LearningWorks, Portland Rec, Reiche Summer School, the YMCA, and the Boys and Girls Club. Based on the idea that music, theater, and art enhance students’ understanding of literature – and the world – performances and events have included puppet theater shows, kids concerts, and art exhibits. 700 students attended performances and events through the consortium in 2018, and in 2019 will attend “Mario the Maker Magician” at the Portland Public Library on July 30th.


A culminating event of summer is the annual neighborhood block party, National Night Out. The event includes a neighborhood parade with giant puppets, processing through the streets of our neighborhood from MSA to Fox Field. An initiative bringing neighbors, businesses, and police together for a night of fun, food, music, and solidarity, the local event showcases dance, music, and other accomplishments to parents and community members representing the unique talents of East Bayside and Portland.

Program Outcomes


The 2017 and 2018 programs brought a new level of creative activity and community togetherness to the neighborhood. Welcoming East End Community School to the program has been impactful on community building during summer months. The MSA youth program model is a community-based, grass-roots endeavor reaching students and families of need, building a welcoming community resource of families, artists, and teachers within walking distance. We are excited about summer programming and the continued positive impacts we can make through partnerships and caring efforts by the community.

RAD! field trip to Bug Light Park. Photo by Jesse Brooks.

Do you enjoy reading and mentoring young people? Interested in volunteering? Please send us an email at for more information.