Summer camps are emerging as an important way to help children retain learning over the summer months, and help to close the achievement gap between children from households with low-incomes and their peers.
East End Community Services, a non-profit organization based in Dayton, Ohio, offers programs to help children succeed to best of his or her abilities. Miracle Makers is the flagship summer camp program of East End and has been offered to children from households with low-incomes living in inner-city East Dayton since 1998. East End began working in the neighborhood in 1997 by asking the community’s leaders, “How can we help?” The response was both sad and powerful:
“Our children have no dreams. Help them become successful.”
In 2018, a grant from Fifth Third CDC Impact Fund provided funding that enabled 30 children from Twin Towers, a two-phase housing tax credit development in Dayton, Ohio, to attend the Miracle Makers summer camp. Results from observational surveys suggest that for many youth, camp experiences created at East End Community Services were often associated with growth in one of these four areas: positive identity, physical activity, social skills, and school readiness.
As a culminating project for Summer 2018, campers prepared performances, presentations, and demonstrations to share with the community at the DREAM LAB EXTRAVAGANZA, an event attended by more than 200 supporters of East End Community Services.