Summer Camp at Port Ministries: Chicago, IL
Fifteen Young Adults (YAs) from the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Centers of Chicagoland, IL, organized a 4-week summer enrichment program for more than 20 children (aged 7 to 13 years) from low-income families through Port Ministries, a non-profit in the Southside of Chicago, IL. The program was held once a week in July 2022, on Fridays, from 11 am to 3 pm. The summer camp was designed to foster the children’s creativity, enhance their social skills and enrich their academic skills.
During arts and crafts, the children used their creative skills to make keychains and build paper plate aquariums. Their curiosity and understanding about scientific concepts like density, heat transfer and static electricity were reinforced through simple fun hands-on experiments using everyday household objects. The children also received personalized tutoring from the YAs during speech and creative writing sessions which helped them develop language and comprehension skills.
The highlight of the camp was a 3-hour robotics session. Each child was given the opportunity to build a robot that they could race against each other at the end of the day. Each of them were given an instruction manual and a kit with robotic parts. YA volunteers were on hand to help them with the robot design. Students became eagerly and completely immersed in the task – they conducted mini experiments to increase the robot's speed, and even skipped their breaks in order to build the best robot they could. The YAs were truly gratified to see the children’s enthusiasm. Finally, each day ended with a fun game that the children thoroughly enjoyed and gave the YAs time to interact and establish bonds with them.
The summer camp service was truly a wonderful opportunity for the YAs with diverse skill sets to come together with love and dedication for a unified cause - to serve disadvantaged children, bring them joy and enrich their lives in a meaningful way. All the YAs expressed their gratitude for the opportunity and look forward to continuing the service every summer.