Homeless Solutions Healthy Children Initiative
Taylor was a shy, reserved twelve year old girl who, on a normal day, would return from school to our Emergency Shelter without saying a word. When asked about her day, a simple “Good” was her most common answer. Although timid, Taylor was a brilliant, intelligent girl, who had faced some serious trauma in her young life. Because of that trauma, Taylor was slow to trust and chose her friends very carefully.
Then last summer, we told Taylor’s mom that her daughter could attend a two-week sleepaway camp, courtesy of this grant. The mom was thrilled.
Taylor? No so much.
In the weeks leading up to camp, it was clear Taylor was worried about leaving. It would be two weeks away from her mother, with kids she did not know, in an incredibly unfamiliar environment. Her worries didn’t stop up until the morning she loaded her belongings onto the camp bus.
What a difference two weeks can make.
The Taylor who returned from camp was a completely different child. We began to see her open up to the other children living at the Shelter – she was now happy to play outside with them. She even ventured out of her comfort zone to try her hand at cooking classes every week! Clearly, Taylor’s camp experience gave her the self-confidence to be an independent young woman.
Just the other day, Taylor wore her brightly colored camp T-shirt to dinner. When asked about camp, her face lit up with joy and she couldn’t stop talking about riding horses, making s’mores, and keeping up with the friends she had made there. Then she asked the staff if she could go back to camp next summer. That’s when she looked at her mom, and said, “Don’t forget to get the application forms as soon as they’re ready.”
Just one more example of how something so simple like summer camp can be so transformational.
About the Grantee
Our mission is “to offer shelter, social services and supportive housing to homeless and low-income people.” We make that an everyday reality through a strategically-designed architecture of housing options -- Emergency Shelter (short term), Transitional Housing (intermediate), and Affordable Housing (long term) – that combined with supportive services, help move people to better, healthier lives