A Day of Hope

A Day of Hope

A week at summer camp can significantly impact the life of a child, especially for a boy like Brian*. A 12 year old foster child who struggled with emotional connection and behavior management, Brian was placed in multiple foster homes over the course of just one year. The moves resulted in frequent school changes, causing even more instability in his life. One summer, Brian was given the opportunity to attend a horse therapy camp in Clark County. During his week at camp, Brian received life-changing experiences that greatly aided his development, boosted his self-esteem, and later led to positive school experiences.

It is for Brian and hundreds of other underserved and less privileged children in our community that the Jewish Business Network (JBN) has embraced the teaching, “When two people get together, a third person should benefit from it.” The JBN is comprised of Jewish business owners and professionals from all over Clark County who desire to use their resources to serve others. One way in which they do this is by contributing funds toward summer camps for the underserved youth in our area.

JBN spokesperson Rabbi Greenberg believes that there are “many life skills that a child gains specifically from camp,” skills such as confidence, the healthy challenge of learning in a new environment, and the ability to develop friendships, both among peers and with camp staff. “We want families to see the value of sending their child to camp.” Greenberg shares, “Not every child has this privilege. We want to provide this opportunity for the kids in our community, because we believe that there’s a ripple effect: when kids have these opportunities, they’ll grow into better, happier selves, which will not only benefit the child but their surroundings as well.”

Children who are eligible to receive financial aid are reached mainly through their local schools. The JBN contributes to the school districts, and children who qualify for assistance (those who participate in the school lunch program, for example) are also eligible for need-based camp scholarships. Additionally, the JBN helps foster and adoptive children by donating to Bridge the Gap, a community outreach program that provides educational and social experiences for abused and neglected children in our area.

One of the largest fundraisers hosted by the JBN is their annual event, “A Day of Hope,” which specifically benefits local youth with summer camp opportunities. This year, “A Day of Hope” took place on May 22, 2016 at Kiggins Theater. The evening began with a strolling dinner, featuring international cuisine and cocktails, followed by theater-style entertainment provided by New York comedian Myq Kaplan. A chance raffle, with over 40 prizes, provided an exciting platform for fundraising. Rabbi Greenberg said, “It’s really a fun opportunity for the local business community to give back and to make their community a better place.”

Additionally, a community recipient of the new “Lamplighter Award” was honored during “A Day of Hope.” Greenberg shares, “Our goal is to highlight the goodness in our community.” The Lamplighter Award acknowledges those who have modeled a life of aspiring to goodness for the benefit of others. “A lamplighter lights the lamp in another person,” says Greenberg, “and even when the lamplighter moves on, the light still shines.”

You, too, can shine in the life of a child. Businesses and individuals alike can sponsor a child’s week at camp. Contact the Jewish Business Network for more details. Additionally, local citizens can encourage families in their circle of influence to take advantage of camp opportunities. Those who qualify for financial assistance can work with their local school to learn more about camp scholarships. Child Protective Services and Bridge the Gap are available to direct foster and adoptive families. Finally, the JBN is eager and available to help connect families with the resources in our area, that the next generation may continue to shine.

*represents a composite of multiple real cases

Julianna Lawson and her husband, Jamie, make their home in Vancouver with their four children, ages 14 to 22.

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