With the rise in free summer camps for children in Memphis and Shelby County, Catholic Charities of West Tennessee has decided to take a step back in 2019 to reassess the very successful academic camp that we have provided for six years to low-income families.
Our goal is to target an area of the city for our summer camp that is under-served by the free camps. Once that is determined, we will work with schools in that area to develop partnerships so they will see us as a resource for their students who may most benefit from an academically-enriched summer camp. We do plan to offer Camp Love & Learn in 2020 and will post updates to that plan here.
For summer 2019, we are developing a smaller, more focused educational offering for children of our clients at Fig Tree Emergency Services because many young parents bring their children in when they come to use our food pantry and clothing closet. We will renovate an unused office to become a children’s reading room staffed by volunteers. The room will be stocked with age-appropriate books – some donated and some purchased. In addition, we plan to purchase some bilingual and Spanish-language books for our Hispanic families. Children will be able to take home one free book each week. Providing this resource will promote literacy and offer some respite to parents visiting our clothing closet and food pantry.
We hope this resource – geared to children from toddlers to the fifth-grade reading level – will become a source of educational materials that might not otherwise enter the home. Stay tuned for more information about this new venture and updates on Camp Love & Learn 2020!