The Best Things About Summer at Jonathan’s Place
Most kids look forward to the long, carefree days of summer, and how much fun they’ll have at summer camp with their friends. They start counting down the days to summer vacation early, sometimes as early as the chilly mornings of late January when they can see their breath in the air.
But for 9-year-old Antony, summer was the last thing on his mind as he stood outside his elementary school at 11 o’clock in the morning, waiting to be buzzed in. Antony wasn’t wearing shoes. And he wasn’t thinking about summer. He was simply focused on getting through the day.
When we first met Antony, he wasn’t able to fully participate in regular school activities, and he was too low-energy to play with the other kids. Antony, the third oldest of seven siblings, had for years experienced hunger, neglect, and social isolation.
But less than five months after we welcomed Antony and siblings to Jonathan’s Place, he began to open up to his peers, and now he can’t wait to meet Tebogo the giraffe on a summer camp adventure to the Dallas Zoo.
At Jonathan’s Place, these highly anticipated trips to the zoo, carefree mornings at the park, and fun, zany activities are just some of the summertime experiences we provide to the abused and neglected children, teens, and youth we serve!
Why Summer Matters
Before they enter Jonathan’s Place, kids like Antony are so focused on day-to-day survival that they can’t fully allow themselves to have fun and throw themselves into play. Furthermore, summer can be a time of significant distress for these kids because school is out and there is nowhere else to go. Trapped at home with their abuser, or, like Antony, forced to fend for themselves and their siblings, these kids miss out on the childhood joys experienced by their peers throughout the summer months.
That’s why at Jonathan’s Place, we take our summers very seriously. More than anything else, we want our kids to have fun.
The summer months allow us to focus on the kids we serve by creating experiences for them that so many of us take for granted—experiences and activities where they can play and discover new interests alongside their friends. We believe that summer should be that time of year when kids can just be kids.
For us, it is important to provide these opportunities to expand the worlds of the children we serve, by creating experiences that they had never experienced because they had come from environments defined by abuse, neglect, and poverty.
Thanks to our community of supporters, we are able to make sure that every single one of the kids we serve at Jonathan’s Place has the opportunity to experience the joy and adventure of a carefree summer.
Summertime at Jonathan’s Place
In addition to meeting Tebogo the giraffe at the Dallas Zoo this summer, Antony and fellow campers have so much to look forward to at summer camp this year.
Summer camps are full-day, week-long experiences that immerse our kids in activities such as art class, sports, silly games, and STEM activities. The water gun fight is legendary on our campus because the water they soak each other with is actually paint!
There is also journaling, jewelry making, a photo scavenger hunt, a movie night, and the chance to make customized beverages with ingredients like Hawaiian Punch and rainbow sherbert. Your gifts help provide art kits and disposable cameras, as well as t-shirts and snacks, so that every child has what they need for each of these activities.
For all of the kids at Jonathan’s Place, summer camp is truly an experience that enables them to learn, grow, and play and most importantly, to have fun!
A Season for Fun
Throughout the year, Jonathan’s Place is committed to providing abused and neglected children, teens, and youth with the resources they need to heal from the trauma. Some of these resources include our emergency shelter and foster care placement, transitional living programs, and safe spaces for kids to experience hope and renewal.
Our summer programming is critical to helping our kids and youth transition out of a day-to-day survival mindset. Once the heavy burden of abuse and neglect is lifted from their shoulders, activities that are simply about having fun inspire our kids, spark new interests, and allow them the space to make new friends. This ultimately helps them build their sense of self-worth as they heal, which is an essential ingredient for their future success.
We believe that Antony, and all of the kids we serve, deserve to have the opportunity to experience all the best things about summer. When you make a donation to Jonathan’s Place between now and August 31, your gift will help us make this summer a season of fun!