Summer is often painted in this picture of running through the sprinkler, going to the pool, camping out underneath the stars, going to camp, and everything in between. This is thought of as the typical summer, but the truth is far from the idyllic image we know and love.

Our children’s shelter sees so many wonderful kids come through our doors. We are familiar with much of the experiences they bring with them. While so many people like to think that having an average, nuclear family is a tangible aspiration in life, we know that this is hardly the case. Summer is an especially relevant time to address some of what goes on in the lives of kids, and AAHN’s Place is here to provide some facts and some clarity.

Take a look at how we, as a society, are needing to redefine a normal summer and contact our children’s shelter to find out more on supporting or volunteering at AAHN’s Place.

“More than half of all students are eligible for free and reduced lunch”

Camps, sports, music lessons, and — especially relevant, daycare — all cost money. Considering more than half of all students in the country are eligible for free and/or reduced lunch prices, this serves as a pretty clear indicator of what it’s like for families to switch over to having to provide even more so in the summer. Forget fun activities, most families in the US are trying to stay afloat.

Daycare costs are high.

Keeping that fact in mind, that over 50 percent of kids in the country can qualify for free and reduced lunch, it stands to reason that daycare is going to be an expense that many families simply cannot afford. The average cost of daycare in the United States is over $11,000 a year and is approximately $972 per month (but again, that’s just an average — costs vary by region).

What this tells us is that most families can’t put their kids in daycare over the summer, which means a lack of supervision, and an increased risk for getting into potentially hazardous situations. When considered in the context of summer, this means no one is able to drive kids to the pool, or to the zoo, or even a park, for that matter. Kids are left to their own devices, which at best, is extreme boredom, and at worst, could lead to danger.

What does summer actually look like?

Practically every parent wants their child to be healthy, happy, and to succeed. Most families struggle to make this happen, not because they aren’t doing a good job, but because they can’t afford to provide the opportunities and resources that can contribute to success.

A normal summer should be full of all those fun things we think of, but for most families in the country, this is not always the case. But when you volunteer or donate to AAHN’s Place, you can trust that you’re donating to a children’s shelter that does everything it can to offer those incredible experiences for the kids who come through our doors. Contact us today to see how you can make a difference.