A Child’s Place is pleased to announce  that the 6th Annual A Swine Evening will be held at 7 p.m. June 1 at Renaissance Charlotte Suite Hotel. Please check www.aswineevening.com often. All the piggy  banks are posted and we’ll be adding package descriptions soon!

The American Camp Association (ACA) estimates that 10 million children participate in a camp each year. Of those millions of children, 160 homeless children will attend A Child’s Place My Place Summer Day Camp, the only local academic enrichment camp built specifically for homeless children. ACA created a Top 10 list of reasons why summer camp is important for children. Among those reasons are: increased physical activity, connecting with nature, forming friendships with peers and adults and reducing summer learning loss. Those reasons are also what draw our volunteers to My Place too.

Volunteers can participate in an array of activities at My Place, which will be held from June through August at a Charlotte-Mecklenburg School.  And if you think about it, the volunteers and the campers both reap similar rewards. Volunteers are exposed to new people, forming relationships with not only the children, but the A Child’s Place staff too. Volunteers participate in activities that bring back childhood memories, such as coloring, singing silly songs and playing kickball outside.  Volunteers learn skill-building and leadership skills that they can use in other aspects of their lives.

My Place has volunteer opportunities available for individuals, businesses, civic organizations and other groups. Individuals can participate in the breakfast/lunch or tutoring program, which requires spending one hour, one day a week, with a camper to simply talk about how their day is going, help with homework or prepare for a test.  Many times, the volunteers become popular, and soon, find themselves surrounded by other campers at the lunch tables! We always hope individuals will continue volunteering with A Child’s Place after camp has ended by participating in the breakfast/lunch buddy, tutor or classroom assistant programs during the school year.

Group volunteer activities involve game/field days, sports clinics and arts and crafts workshops, just to name a few. These activities can accommodate a large number of students at the camp site. They are great for businesses wanting to create volunteer experiences for employees, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops earning merit badges and congregations and civic organizations devoted to giving back to the community. Groups are also welcome to host donation drives for My Place. However, we ask that you contact A Child’s Place first to see what is needed before conducting the drive.

The biggest reward though, for both volunteer and child, is the strong friendship formed during the six weeks of camp. Homeless children live a life of constant change. School and My Place are one of the few stable components in their lives. My Place gives our campers a set routine morning till afternoon, Monday through Friday, similar to school. They do not worry about if they’ll eat breakfast or lunch that day – its included in camp, along with snacks, field trips, swim lessons and door-to-door transportation. The direct-service volunteers become part of that stability for our campers. Don’t be surprised if the campers greet you with a smile and hug each time volunteer at camp!

So go back to camp, relive your childhood a bit and make a difference in a homeless child’s life. Contact Lindsay Wilson at 704-943-9532 or lwilson@achildsplace.org to learn more about My Place volunteer opportunities.


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