Imagine being a young child without food, clothing and shelter … wondering when you might get your next meal and if you will ever have a place to call home. Unfortunately, there are children in our communities coping with these problems every day.
At the Y we believe that all children deserve an opportunity to be in a warm and supportive environment where they can learn, grow and thrive … and no child should ever be turned away due to inability to pay.
This summer Camp Sachem in Saugus welcomed 28 homeless children to their program for the summer. The kids come to the Y through a collaboration with the Lynn Public School system, and every year they’re excited to spend their days participating in camp fun, making friends, gaining self-confidence and enjoying their Best Summer Ever! These campers also receive lunch, backpacks, swimsuits and towels.
For these homeless children the opportunity to attend summer camp is a dream come true. When one young camper was asked what her favorite part about camp was, she answered, “I get to eat lunch every day.” She continued on about how she also loved swimming and playing games, but what she was most grateful for was consistently receiving a meal. This young camper is just 6 years old.
In addition to giving homeless children a chance to attend summer camp, the Melrose Family YMCA also continues to partner with the local Department of Children and Families (DCF) to provide emergency care for children who have been pulled from their homes but not yet placed in foster care.
Oftentimes these children have had their worlds turned upside down by being removed from their homes due to safety concerns. This past spring both the Melrose Y Academy and Stoneham Y Academy provided care to two children who were in need of a place to go. Knowing that these children were going to spend 8 hours in the DCF office (which lacks any type of child care or play space) until a permanent placement was found, the Y immediately stepped in to help! The Y cared for both children free of charge in our preschool programs and they were provided with food, friends, appropriate toys, clothing, and nurturing support from our child care staff during this difficult time in their lives.
Situations likes these change the lives of not only the children we are helping but also the YMCA employees. Being able to provide those in need with support and care is exactly what the YMCA strives to do each and every day!