Director, kids still want summer camp at MLK community center

Director, kids still want summer camp at MLK community center
Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 5:21pm

UPDATED: Friday, June 15, 2012 - 8:44am

For those hoping to provide a summer camp for the kids of north Baton Rouge, the metro city council's decision to not provide the group with funding was disappointing to say the least. Now they are looking for ways to some day make this summer camp possible.

Every day at the m-l-k community center in north baton rouge Cheryl Ford is greeted by a small group of kids waiting to come inside out of the heat to play games and receive free tutoring. It was her dream to provide those same kids and about 60 others a camp for the summer, that dream was halted Wednesday night as a majority of the Baton Rouge metro-city council abstained from voting to fund the camp.

"Disappointment, there are a lot of kids that during school get breakfast and lunch. And during school that's all they get. So a summer program would allow them the opportunity to get breakfast and lunch while they're out of school," Cheryl Ford, the center’s director, shared.

But she's not the only one disappointed with the outcome of Wednesday's meeting.

“Well sad on the inside because if we would get the summer camp then more kids would have come instead of being out in the heat," Charissima O’Conner, a child who visits the center daily, said.”

"We need a summer camp in this district and several other districts throughout the parish. We have to do something with our kids. It takes a village and we all have to do our part,” Joe Bean, a summer tutor at the community center, stated.

Ford believes for now the summer camp may have to wait until next year, when hopefully they can find it in their budget to set aside some funds for program.

"We just hope that someone finds it in their heart to donate or go before the council again and see perhaps after all this, if they have a change of heart," Ford said.

Ford is also not opposed to taking donations for the kids currently taking advantage of the summer programs at the community center, as often times snacks and lunches for the kids are out of pocket expenses for her or others.

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Atlanta has had city sponsored day camps since the 1980s, started during the Missing and Murdered Children catastrophe. BR needs to catch up. Since this is in North BR maybe they could get funding through BRAVE, the new crime reduction program. One way to reduce crime is to give kids something positive to do and also make sure they are fed. They can get lunch through the school lunch summer program.

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