Rock Island, IL—Runners and walkers can Spring into Summer and support important summer learning projects with the Spring into Summer 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, May 20. The 9:00 am race is a partnership among Spring Forward Learning Center, Martin Luther King Center, and Rock Island Public Library summer learning programs. Proceeds support summer reading and enrichment projects at Spring Forward elementary education sites in Rock Island and Milan.

The 5K course at Sunset Park in Rock Island is fast and flat with scenic views of Potter Lake and the Mississippi River. Participant receive chip-timing and a t-shirt (guaranteed if registered by May 5.) The event also includes a 1/4-mile kids run for children 12 and under, and a post-race picnic with food, games, and family activities.

Registration costs for the event are as follows:
Early Bird rate: $25 through April 30th
May 1st-May 19: $30
Day of the race: $40
Kids Race only: $15

Participants may register online or download and mail registration from the Spring Forward website,

Spring Into Summer 5K is organized by Spring Forward Learning Center, Martin Luther King Community Center and the Rock Island Public Library, with lead sponsorship from Ascentra Credit Union. Support is also provided by Crawford and Company, Eye Surgeons Associates, and Hammar and Associates.

For more information about the event, visit the Spring Forward website or call 309-793-5900 Ext. 249.

Background: Summer Enrichment Initiative in Rock Island
The summer enrichment effort from Spring Forward, Rock Island Library, and the Martin Luther King Center is aimed at fighting what some call the summer "slide." These annual learning losses happen when kids don't read and learn over the summer break.

Low income children can lose two to three months of reading achievement each summer, and additional research suggests that two-thirds of the ninth-grade achievement gap between higher- and lower-income youth can be attributed to unequal access to summer learning opportunities during the elementary school years.

Nearly 500 students are expected to participate in Summer Enrichment camps at the Martin Luther King Community Center, Frances Willard, Rock Island Academy, Center for Math and Science, Thomas Jefferson, Longfellow and Earl Hansen Elementary sites ran by Spring Forward.  The goal of the six week camps is for 100 percent of the students to maintain their reading levels.

In 2016, Rock Island Public Library extended their summer reading program to 384 kids at five Spring Forward camps for the first time. By the end of the summer, campers had read more than 5,500 hours! Out of 226 assessments given, nearly 89 percent of students maintained or gained in reading levels. Participating students in the Spring Forward after-school and summer programs are typically academically challenged or in danger of not moving successfully onto the next grade level without additional support.

Additional Spring Forward community partners support learning through outreach and a broad range of complimentary programs that include STEM (Science, Technology, Environment and Math) arts, health and recreation. Program partners include but are not limited to Two Rivers YMCA, Quad City Area Food Program, Quad Cities Food Hub, Augustana College, Figge Art Museum, Putnam Museum, River Music Experience, Illinois Extension Office, Rock Island Parks and Recreation, St Mary’s Monastery, Deere-Wiman House, River Action, Girl Scouts and Ballet Quad Cities.

Major funding for the Summer Enrichment Initiative is provided by the Doris and Victor Day Foundation and Rock Island-Milan School District. Portions of the Rock Island Library program are funded by the Rock Island Public Library Foundation.