Our Children’s Program operates year-round, but things really kick into high gear during the summer – from 8am to 8pm! These hours give the kids a safe place to spend their break while channeling energy into fun and educational experiences. It gives their parents peace of mind. It allows our staff the chance to do what they do best – engage young minds in learning life skills and challenge them to grow with new opportunities.
Just how does your support make a difference for kids that have experienced the terror and despair of living in an abusive situation?
Here’s “Alex’s” story. When Alex, now 5, and his family moved to Coburn Place ten months ago, he barely spoke and was very withdrawn. His sad brown eyes were focused more on the floor than anyone or anything in the kids’ playroom. It was more than just a case of nerves or shyness. It was clear to staff that his mother wasn’t the only one traumatized by their abusive situation. Alex had been, too.
Staff recommended and helped enroll him in an Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) pre-kindergarten program. This opportunity gave him the support and confidence he needed to begin breaking through his past. One day on the way to school, he ran up to Children’s Services Advocate, Teia, with a big grin saying “I go to school, Ms. Teia, and I have two teachers!” Every morning she watched as he left, proudly carrying his new red backpack. It was hard to tell who was more excited. Both had huge smiles on their faces.
Alex continued to make progress while participating in children’s programming at Coburn Place. With encouragement and one-on-one time with staff and volunteers, Alex let his guard down. He started talking and interacting with the other children.
Summer camp would be a major turning point in his healing journey. Staff and kids work together to plan a calendar full of fun and educational activities. Trips to museums and parks; physical activities like swimming, tennis and skating and daily time for reading and writing just begin to cover the kaleidoscope of activities the kids enjoy.
On the first day of summer camp, the kids went roller skating. It was Alex’s first time on skates, but he was a natural. When Pharrell’s song “Happy” came on he danced and jumped all over the rink! His dark eyes lit up with joy. So did the eyes of everyone watching him. Because of your generosity, Alex finally got the chance to be a normal kid. Happy doesn’t really begin to describe this transformation but “ecstatic” doesn’t really fit the beat, does it? That’s another #PowerShift in the books.
Other kids, just like Alex, need your help. The Children’s Services department is always in need of bottled water, juice, healthy snacks and caring volunteers. Contact Suzy, firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-923-5750, to arrange for a donation drop-off or get started volunteering.