By: Brittany L. Webb
Each year, Faces without Places and Project Connect hosts an eight week summer camp for children experiencing homelessness in the Greater Cincinnati area. Campers come five days a week for days filled with academics, in reading and math, and plenty of fun! At the conclusion of camp each year there is an entire day dedicated to showcasing what the campers have learned while attending the Project Connect summer camp. This year the theme of the camp was “Play Smart, Eat Smart, BE Smart,” and concluded with a health fair that took place on Wednesday, July 27th, the day before camp ended for the summer. The camp was a huge success and was highly supported by families of the campers, volunteers, media coverage and plenty of dedicated workers.
|Dancing to Beyonce's "Move your Body"|
|Matching food to their food groups|
The health fair included many fun activities such as games, healthy food and drink, craft projects and even a fire safety simulation presented by the Cincinnati Fire Department through the use of a “smoke house” that guests were given the opportunity to visit right on site of the health fair.
|Some of the Fire Prevention Team and campers|
Another organization who partnered with Project Connect and participated in the health fair is the Children’s Hunger Alliance. Throughout the eight weeks of camp AmeriCorps members, Missy Miller, Summer Craig, and Karima Samadi, came to camp several times a week to educate children on what it means to live a healthy lifestyle.
AmeriCorps members from The Children’s Hunger Alliance, Miller, Craig, & Samadi, as well as OASHF AmeriCorps VISTA members from Faces without Places, Beth Griffith-Niemann, Jen Difilippo, and Brittany Webb played a large role in the health fair by setting up several booths of fun, hands-on, engaging activities to teach children about healthy food options, as well as providing all of the healthy food and drinks for the day. Other organizations who were involved in the health fair include, the YMCA, Happen Inc., and the Cincinnati Circus, who also set up booths that included engaging activities for health fair guests.
|The Bouncy House from Cincinnati Circus|
At the conclusion of the health fair this year, and after a busy day of great food and activities, the campers were given a huge surprise! Thanks to partnerships between the Children’s Hunger Alliance, Panera Bread and Wishes for Wheels, each individual camper was awarded with a brand new bike and helmet. For several of the children at camp this year this was their very first bike, and by the looks of joy on their faces this reality was very obvious. The bikes were delivered to the children and their families that evening and the next evening after camp had concluded for the day. The bikes were truly the icing on the cake for a great health fair and an even greater eight weeks of camp!
|The Bike Reveal!|