CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Every day at “My Place” summer camp starts with a song, though it’s a stark contrast to the circumstances that some of the children, who are all homeless, face.

“Some of these children have adult problems that they are dealing with, and coming to camp they get to put that aside a little bit and just be kids,” said Laurie Schwartz, with A Child’s Place, the agency that runs the camp.

The children sometimes face hunger and living conditions in unsafe areas, Schwartz said, and the camp provides safe place for them to spend the extra time that summer allots.

“This camp teaches you academic skills and character skills that you need to know for the rest of your life,” 11-year-old Selena said.
Lessons focus on developing traits like citizenship, respect and courage and proficiency in subjects such as reading, science and math.

The student-teacher ratio is 5 to 1.

“Our goal is to make sure our children at least maintain their academic level over the summer,” Schwartz said. “We’ve had children who’ve increased one or two grade levels over the summer.”

The camp is more than academics, though. There are also fun activities scheduled for the kids.

“We go swimming Monday through Thursday,” 10-year-old Franklin said.

The kids also go on a field trip every Friday, so by the time they head back to school, they’ve made a lot of good memories.

“Children who are in stable housing have all kinds of great stories to tell when they go back to school in the fall, and we want our kids to have those kinds of stories, too,” Schwartz said.

A Child’s Place is dedicated to helping homeless children succeed year-round. Most of its funding comes from private donations, charities and grants.

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