With bonfires, friends, and lifelong memories, summer camp is part of the American childhood experience. For many homeless kids, however, this is not the case because families can’t afford it. It’s a sad reality, especially since these children truly need it; homeless shelters grow crowded during the summer months, as kids are no longer in school. The congestion causes a great deal of stress for parents and children alike. Add that to the stress of frequent relocation, and it’s no wonder a number of homeless kids experience issues like depression.
Since 1989, however, New York-based nonprofit Homes for the Homeless has offered these kids temporary escapes through Camps Wakonda and Lanowa. Both offer three summer camp sessions—each one lasting 16 days, each one free for those on Public Assistance.
Lanowa and Wakonda are situated in Harriman State Park, half an hour away from the bustle of New York City life—the only life that many of its campers have ever known. And it’s here that hundreds of underprivileged and foster youths aged 6 to 13 are free to be kids. They can hike, craft, swim, journal, play sports, make friends, and have fun. Many of the activities are enriching and educational, which staves off the “brain rot” that likes to fester in young minds during June, July, and August.
The camps also offer kids things we often take for granted, like a full belly, structure, and the opportunity to experience the natural world. Summer camp is something every child deserves, sure, but food, stability, fun, and exploration? Those are things every child needs.
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After-school activities are also great ways to have fun. Unfortunately, however, many students don’t have access to any, and because of that, they are more likely to engage in risky behavior. You can change that! Your donation will create new basketball courts for at-risk youth, which will in turn give them something fun and productive to do after class is dismissed.Whizzco