Women & Children First: The Center Against Family Violence was the first organization selected for Camp HOPE America – Arkansas in 2018 and the partnership continues for 2019. Women & Children First has partnered with Camp Aldersgate again to provide 50 children (increased from 25 campers last year) with a week of fun, games, swimming, camping and mentoring. The camp will be hosted June 30th – July 5th for children who have been exposed to domestic violence can find a renewed level of HOPE.
Blake was one of the first kids to attend Camp HOPE America-Arkansas. He and his family were once guests in the shelter and have gone on to work with another local organization. When the idea of Camp HOPE America was brought to him, he could not be convinced to go. He was afraid to leave his mom at home out of fear she may get hurt again. Blake and his family had been out of crisis for quite a bit of time yet this twelve-year-old boy felt he still needed to protect his family. Months pass and the first day of camp has arrived. On that day, Blake decided he wanted to attend camp but he could not promise he would have fun. As the week progressed, it became more difficult for Blake to hide his smile. Blake was able to be a kid for the first time in a long time. Before leaving camp, the kids were asked what they were going to do at home to keep hope alive. Blake shared, “I am going to be more resilient. I learned that my future doesn’t have to be as dark or as bad as my past.”
Camp HOPE America is the first camping and mentoring program in the country focused on children impacted by domestic violence. Camp HOPE started as a campaign program in San Diego but it has expanded across the country. In 2018, Camp HOPE America operated in 14 states. The effectiveness of Camp HOPE America has been evaluated for four years by the University of Oklahoma’s Research Center. Dr. Chan Hellman, director of the program, states that “Hope is the best predictor of long-term well-being in children exposed to trauma.” The results indicate that Camp HOPE America produces significant increases in hope and resilience in the lives of children with extreme trauma from childhood.
For more information and to become a HOPE Giver, contact Adri Mejia, Camp HOPE Site Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Camp HOPE America – Arkansas information is also available at http://www.wcfarkansas.org/camp-hope-america-arkansas
CAMP HOPE AMERICA – ARKANSAS | 2000 Aldersgate Rd, Little Rock, AR | 501-952-7350 | wcfarkansas.org