To the editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the focus and purpose of the Sizzling Summer Enrichment Program (SSEP), which was covered in an article appearing on June 20. While families meeting certain qualifications, such as income criteria, are given preference during registration, any Columbus Public Schools family with children in grades kindergarten through second are welcome to apply each spring for this four-week program. A student not fitting the specified criteria is accepted if slots are available and the family is charged a weekly fee for the service. It should also be noted that the summer lunch program held at Emerson Elementary, which SSEP takes advantage of, is open to all families in the community.

SSEP is an effort to build learning during the summer when, as research has demonstrated, many children of all backgrounds experience a negative impact on their academic skill level. As an SSEP partner, the Columbus Area United Way is proud to be associated with this quality program and the staff who are dedicated to helping all children develop and have opportunities for positive summer activities. Such services generally do not happen without the support of many different organizations in the community and those efforts are appreciated.

Tammy Bichlmeier

Community impact director

Columbus Area United Way