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Summer Fund Camp Spotlight

Massachusetts General Hospital - Aspire

Christina Lazdowsky and Elise Wulff

 

What impact is your camp having on youth in the Greater Boston area?

We build up the confidence of youth who are on the autism spectrum. These students are extremely vulnerable to mental health and self-esteem issues. Therefore, we aspire to help them develop social, self-awareness, and stress management skills so that they can find success within themselves.

 

What is the one thing you wish everyone knew about your camp?

This is not a one-stop service. We focus on the lifespan of the youth and are a comprehensive support network for the family. We have weekly parent groups, workshops that build on sibling relationships, and seminars that provide parents with tools on how to communicate effectively with their child's teachers.

What is the most rewarding part of the work that your camp does?

Having the opportunity to hear kids say, "I tied my shoes for the first time!" and witnessing so many other "firsts". In addition, seeing the kids get ready for their birthday parties with their friends at camp is amazing. Many of the students don't get invited to birthday parties at their schools. When they come to camp, they get the opportunity to build relationships and have memorable birthday parties with their friends.

 

What is your camp's greatest asset?

The staff. They are dedicated, passionate, and knowledgeable.

 

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering/donating/working/etc. with your camp?

PLEASE COME TO CAMP FOR A DAY! See the happiness in these kids' eyes for yourself.

If you were to choose one celebrity that embodies the traits of your camp, who would it be and why?

Jim Carey-he is quirky, energized and intelligent. He does what makes him happy and stays authentic. He owns it!

 

What three words would you use to describe your camp?

Home. Mindful. Electric.

 

 

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Sportsmen's Tennis & Enrichment Center 

Nadine Pankins-Houston, Enrichment Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • What impact is your camp having on youth in the Greater Boston area?

Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center was created in 1961 as a safe space for families and youth in Dorchester to play tennis, learn, and work together. We meet the needs of the whole child; this includes social, emotional, physical, and academic wellness.  The youth at Sportsmen’s understand the reciprocal nature of their involvement. When students say, ”When I’m old enough, I want to volunteer and work here”, we know that we are doing our job.

  • What is the most rewarding part of the work that your camp does?

It feels good to know that we fuel the holistic success of our youth. Watching students succeed academically, using social thinking strategies, and practicing healthy exchanges with their peers are the most rewarding components of our work.

  • What is your camp’s greatest asset?

The curriculum and resources (we have awesome partners!).

  • What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering/donating/working/etc. with your camp?

It is a tangible investment. If you really want to help steer the path of a youth, you can do it at Sportsmen’s.

  • If you were to choose one celebrity that embodies the traits of your camp, who would it be and why?

Michelle Obama—she’s passionate about youth and their physical, social, and emotional well-being. In addition, she’s fearless like our students and our staff!

  • What three words would you use to describe your camp?

Game-changers. Tireless. Pioneers.

 

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WriteBoston, Teens in Print
Ric Kahn and Betty Southwick

 

 

 

  • What impact is your camp having on youth in the Greater Boston area?

Teens in Print (TIP) is a six-week summer camp that develops middle and high school students to be writers and create a published newspaper issue. The program encompasses other various skills for youth to build on, such as interviewing, financial literacy, and workforce development. TIP encourages students to write what they are most passionate about and become the best writers that they can be.

  • What is the one thing you wish everyone knew about your camp?

We are adaptable. An advocate for the program once said, ”TIP is the best program you’ve never heard of”. Your school needs a writing workshop? Or a few teachers experienced in writing to help your students craft their skills? Utilize us, we are here to help!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • What is the most rewarding part of the work that your camp does?

The young people! One time, a female student was so excited about being published in the newspaper that she sent the paper to her grandparents in Portugal. Empowering these students, watching them blossom, and becoming a trusted adult and mentor to them are the reasons why we do what we do.

  • What is your camp’s greatest asset?

Our program has longevity; we have many students who have joined the program after their siblings have graduated. This shows that we are making a positive difference in the lives of the families living in Boston, especially in the Roxbury, Dorchester, and Hyde Park neighborhoods.

  • If you were to choose one celebrity that embodies the traits of your camp, who would it be and why?

Barack Obama—he is relaxed, does the right thing, and is a role model for young people. That’s what our camp is all about.

  • What three words would you use to describe your camp?

Caring. Spunky. Inspirational.

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Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC) 
Giles Li, Nate Kerr, Kirklin Lee, and Lingxi Yi
 
What impact is your camp having on youth in the Greater Boston area? 
BCNC was founded in 1969 as a safe place for Chinese families. We are still committed to that mission and have also expanded our services to meet the needs of our growing community.
 
What is the one thing you wish everyone knew about your camp?
We are community-based and utilize the strengths of the community. We are sensitive to Asian culture and traditions and are committed to retaining the heritage.

What is the most rewarding part of the work that your camp does?

Giving families the skills to succeed with their youth. We serve and support our families holistically-this ranges from providing workshops for parents to learn English or helping students with their homework.

 

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering/donating/working/etc. with your camp?
We have fun and nurturing activities! Students never want to leave the Center and are always encouraging their friends to join, as well. There’s nothing better than supporting families and watching them succeed. It takes a village to raise a child; but it also takes a village to support a family and we are dedicated to that.
 
If you were to choose one celebrity that embodies the traits of your camp, who would it be and why?
Jeremy Lin-he is Asian-American and dedicated to giving back to the community. He visited the BCNC and simply wanted to talk to the kids. He didn’t want press and he just wanted to inspire the students. This is what BCNC is all about-giving back and cultivating the community.
 
What three words would you use to describe your camp?
Community. Development. Engagement.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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College Bound Dorchester
Alana Hill and Inita Jones

 

What impact is your camp having on youth in the Greater Boston area?
We are committed to education and providing the skills to our youth so that they can attend and graduate from college. 96% of the youth we serve are people of color who are often left behind in other programs. If we did not have College Bound, many of our students may not have had these cultural and educational opportunities. Furthermore, many of our teen workers are past students of College Bound who had an enriching experience during their participation and want to give back to their communities.

What is the one thing you wish everyone knew about your camp?
It's affordable! We have a high expectation to send our youth to college and we are committed to that.

What is the most rewarding part of the work that your camp does?
When a student understands something or is engaged for the very first time-it is the best feeling.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering/donating/working/etc. with your camp?
A $10 check goes very far for our campers and their education. If you are passionate about seeing students succeed, then this is the place for you. 

If you were to choose one celebrity that embodies the traits of your camp, who would it be and why?
We can't choose one so we are going to go with Oprah and Common. They are both committed to empowering youth and education. They are honest and say the right things about social justice from their personal experiences.

What three words would you use to describe your camp?
Energetic. Safe. Learning.

 

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