For many youngsters, summer camp is a rite of passage, providing a safe environment to learn and play while school is out. But for some lower-income families, the oftentimes expensive programmes are simply out of reach.
Natalie Mallinson, a teacher at Hope Academy raised $20,000 to send more than three dozen children to summer camp.
“It’s been very challenging but extremely rewarding,” said Ms. Mallinson.
She told Cayman 27 she never imagined she’d be sending 40 children to camp this summer, her initial goal was just five.
“I thought it would raise maybe $2000, so to go from $2000 to $20,000 was a huge achievement.
At Cayman Learning Centre, six of ‘Natalie’s kids’ are brushing up on their math and English skills.
“We’ve got six children that are here for four weeks, they have intense math, reading, games. We’ve got a child that is starting to blend words, they’ve all made improvements in their reading, their writing, and their maths,” said Ms. Mallinson.
Ms. Mallinson said she chose camps tailored to suit the specific needs of each individual child.
“These are children that really didn’t have much going for them in the summer,” said Ms. Mallinson. “Single parent households, no one to look after them. We’ve got one mom that it has meant that she can get enrolled in a job.”
Six-year old Kyla Watson told Cayman 27 when she’s having a blast at Kings’s Sports Centre, her mom is trying to improve the family’ s situation.
“She started to go around and look for houses and jobs so she could get more money for us to get food and drink and live happily ever after,” she told Cayman 27.
Ms. Mallinson told Cayman 27 she finds fulfillment in seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces.
“I couldn’t be happier, there’s nowhere I’d want to be apart from here,” said Ms. Mallinson cheerily.
She expressed gratitude to her sponsors and the camps, which offered discounted rates for her children.