Students wait all year for the summer break from school. However, once they are out of school, several more problems present themselves. Some East Chicago students who are on free breakfast and lunch programs during the school year may not get those meals on summer break. Also, some children live in areas where it isn’t safe for them to play outside or walk to see their friends. Even more students end up spending the majority of their break on the couch in front of the television. This year, four East Chicago churches came together to do something about this.
Greater Destiny Bible Church, Greater First Baptist Church, New Life Outreach Church, and Zion Missionary Baptist Church decided to start the Summer Day Camp program, which is free to all youth in East Chicago.
The program offers a safe environment for children during the summer months. Campers receive a balanced breakfast and lunch, attend educational classes, and have the opportunity for supervised outdoor play with their friends. Each church holds camp on different days of the week to accommodate students from all over the city.
Not only is the camp available free of charge, but there is also no prior registration required. This makes it easier for parents who maybe didn’t expect to utilize the program regularly but need it for when something comes up. Children can be dropped off to participate at any time throughout the day.
The hours vary by church, but the program usually lasts from 9 a.m. to approximately 5 p.m. Each church also runs their camp a little differently, which provides students with varied summer experiences.
Greater Destiny Bible Church focuses on providing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) opportunities for their students. Three days a week, a representative from the Purdue University Northwest College of Engineering and Sciences visits to talk with the children and do educational activities with them. They even saw a presentation from a scientist at Fermilab, the renowned high-energy particle physics lab in Illinois.
In addition to STEM education, campers get to experience art and recreation, some of their favorite activities. They have taken walks to the local park and gone on a field trip to the splash pad at Wicker Park in Highland, a trip many would not have had the opportunity to make this summer, had it not been for the Summer Day Camp.
To learn more about the summer programs that the Foundations of East Chicago (FEC) helps bring to the community, visit www.FoundationsEC.org.