Sommer's Story


“Breakthrough Cincinnati is so near and dear to my heart.” That’s how Sommer Linnere summed up her feelings about the program. And she should know. Not only does Sommer have two graduates and one current program participant, but Sommer herself is a proud alumna of the program from 1993!

“I remember my summers well,” she recalls. “Everyone was there to learn. That was so different from how I felt in school, where I was surrounded by kids who really didn’t want to be there.”

When Sommer attended the program it was called Summerbridge and later became Breakthrough Cincinnati in 2001. “I was so struck when my daughter Kaiana started at Breakthrough, how much the program was the same as when I attended.  Everyone had so much enthusiasm to learn. So positive.” Kaiana is now a successful junior at Shroder High School, and looking forward to pursuing her love of the arts. Sommer’s son Kameron is also a graduate othe program, and is finishing his first year at Shroder. Sommer’s younger son, Kayden, is excited to return to BTC for his second summer this year.  Looking ahead, Sommer’s youngest, fourth-grader Kelani hopes to join the Breakthrough family in 2019!

Reflecting on the impact Breakthrough has had on her children, Sommer shared “It’s beyond academics.  Breakthrough also provided real ‘how-to” skills. They learned how to stay organized through Breakthrough’s use of planners, binders, and so on. I saw what a difference it made.”

“When I think of Breakthrough, I think of the word ‘empowerment,’” Sommer concluded. The fact that the program is free to participants, that the staff are giving so much of their time to the kids, that type of energy, dedication and love, you don’t see that every day.”

Julie Witten