JOIN THEIR JOURNEY FALL EDITION 2018 A few summers ago I attended my first TYM summer camp. In fact, our entire family of four attended, but my daughter Shayla, who was only ten years old at the time, was the only one who chose to participate as a camper that week. I started girl’s camp believing that my kids were somehow “different” than the others. I’d like to think that I didn’t consider my children as “better,” but I could definitely recognize that they were better off economically and even socially. Our family was middle-class, had few financial stressors, and my children attended well-funded schools that were propelling them towards academic excellence. Over the next week, however, my perceptions that were shaped by a privilege I had not frequently acknowledged began to crumble. Some kids were struggling with more life challenges in their few short years of life than I had faced in almost fifty. Over half were in foster care due to the incarceration of their parents or abuse in the home, and others belonged to single-parent households in which their one parent was struggling to provide or suffering health problems.
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And yet, while the gap between their lives and mine began to widen, my heart also began to open. I saw the way that these children were so much like my own. Their smiles, their laughter, their joy. And I began to wonder, what would I do if they were my children? It has been over a decade now since I have been working with TYM. I have had the opportunity to grow and pour into these children the same love that I would my own. And yet, as one parent among a sea of needs, I know that I am not enough to supply the daily demands that are present every day. We need more volunteers who are willing to share the wealth of their time, experience and even privilege, with those whose opportunities have been far more limited by circumstance and systematic disenfranchisement than their own. This year, we launched year three of THRIVE!, an after-school academic program that helps give students the education and instruction they deserve. Often, over-crowded classrooms in underfunded districts do not provide the oneon-one assistance that some students need to move forward in their educational journey successfully. Add to this, the hurdle of declining self-worth and esteem while fighting off the bully inside them that says, “I can’t do this.” THRIVE! is the perfect opportunity for volunteers to frequently connect with children, imparting to them, not only educational empowerment but life skills and most of all mentorship. We have the unique opportunity, not only to enrich their academic lives but also to teach them to dream beyond the limitations of their circumstances, to dare to hope in a life far better than the one they are living. But we can’t do this alone. Will you consider joining us on this transformational journey?
“Research demonstrates that urban children repsond to new experiences with curiosity resulting in...new life and learning skills”
by Barry Tonge, Director of Camps & Programs
Less than 20% of urban children in West Contra Costa meet or exceed the standard for math and reading at grade level
FROM CAMPING TO THRIVING
by Selina Breshers, Camp Program Team Leader
This summer I experienced a truly amazing and transformational journey. As the Program Team Coordinator, I was able to gain a unique perspective on how our campers were impacted by and responded to the overarching messages of teamwork, resiliency, and character strength that our TYM program highlighted. While being front and center as well as behind-the-scenes, I was able to gain so much insight into how each of our campers longed to escape their lives at home--their struggles and experiences of trauma-- in order to receive something magical...something transformational. What I appreciated the most about participating in the Program Team, was the opportunity to engage the campersâ€™ imaginations through whimsical skits and messy, physical challenges that held powerful messages regarding how to apply the gospel in everyday life. What was even more amazing was the overwhelming engagement of the campers. Their personal involvement shifted the dynamics of the messages so that it had an even deeper spiritual impact for everyone present. Across every aspect of our camping program-- from Real Life, to field games, to high adventure activities, to Club and Cabin Time--I experienced the beauty of watching these see the messages lived out in front of me. I can genuinely say that I witnessed a transformation in each camper, team leader, and staff present. I canâ€™t wait to do it again!
THRIVE WITH DYNAMIC PRESENCE by Margena Wade-Green, THRIVE! Site Coordinator This past school year THRIVE! has been gifted with the wonderful opportunity to meet and serve bright and brilliant young women. Our after-school program hosted in Richmond, California is where we get the chance to work with girls like Natalie, a young African-American girl who can light up a room with big hugs and a smile. Yet behind that beautiful glow, one would never know that she lives in a single-parent household with an absent father. This year has been especially challenging for her, and as a result, her academic life has suffered as she struggled to focus her attention. It has been my privilege, however, to help reorientate this sweet, energetic, and creative young girl back on the road to success. As the female Head Leader at camp, I had the opportunity to watch her grow socially and emotionally this year. Now, at THRIVE!, I can offer Natalie a consistent presence, academic support and essential elements for her healing and resilience . THRIVE-to-camp-and-back-to-THRIVE has allowed for our friendship to deepen while creating a loving net of academic, social and emotional, support for her to land.
“We were asking questions and learning about each other’s lives and he confided in me a good amount of his story... all I had to do was listen. Before we went in to lunch, he gave me a hug and said, ‘I wish you were my brother.’ --Camp Team Leader
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“I learned a lot from the campers in regards to resilience and strength. The stories they shared during cabin time took a lot of bravery and inspired me to share the struggles I have experienced.” --Camp Team Leader
Thanks for Joining Their Journey We are deeply grateful for our 2018 Walk-4-Their Future event sponsors and all of our participants that raised over $148,000 to fully fund the Summer Camp experience for at-risk children from throughout the Bay Area!
Vista Wealth Managment
Malakoff & Assoc.
Lee & Denise Perry Gary & Barbara Cappa
Major Donors Jeff Bell Matt & Lisa Sonsini
David & Michele Heathorn Robert & Sue Buckley
Ryan & Diana Nickelson Scott & Phyllis Bedford