For many children, summer is an exciting time. The possibility of fun and adventure, the freedom from school responsibilities, and the long, warm days make the summer months extra special. Unfortunately, not all children have access to the summer activities that make the season so special. While their peers are busy making summer memories of family vacations, lazy days at the pool, campfires and the great outdoors, children living with the realities of homelessness likely will not have these stories to share when they return to school.
That is why, each summer the Therapeutic Childcare team at Father Joe’s Villages brings hope and normalcy into the lives of children in need through the program’s annual Summer Camps. During the summer months, the Therapeutic Childcare program transforms into an engaging and fun Summer Camp for children of all ages staying in Father Joe’s Villages’ shelters and housing programs. Through educational and fun summer activities including safe trips into the community, art and cooking projects, and science experiments, the children are able to escape the chaos of homelessness and just be kids.
The expert Therapeutic Childcare staff design a summer curriculum that focuses on healthy child development while allowing them to enjoy the adventure and happiness that summer brings. The children go on field trips visiting the library and the beach, see movies, play laser tag, and go on boat rides. Sometimes they even get to see beyond San Diego and visit other cities or theme parks!
Additionally, Summer Camp helps children thrive in school, even during the summer. The “summer slide” is the term experts use for the learning lost during summer vacation. The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), a national testing organization, reported that the average student in grades 3-8 scored 5-10 percentile points lower than students who took math assessments the year previous. At Summer Camp, children engage in educational events and activities that allow them to grow and learn in a fun, stress-free environment.
No matter the circumstances, Father Joe’s Villages remains committed to helping children in need address social, emotional and academic developmental milestones, which are often delayed due to homelessness. At the Therapeutic Childcare Center, Child Development Specialists and Educational Coordinators help children build a brighter future, while also providing the childhood summer of their dreams. Last year, the Therapeutic Childcare Center provided more than 24,000 services to infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children and teens.
Summers at Father Joe’s Villages support healthy child development, important socialization and beautiful memories that the kids will cherish forever. A gift to Father Joe’s Villages provides children in need the opportunity to enjoy a happy summer.
Learn how you can support children and families experiencing homelessness at my.neighbor.org.