Cayman-based charity Acts of Random Kindness is working to provide a fun, safe summer for low-income children who may not have access to extracurricular activities.
Through community sponsors, the organization hopes to send around 10 children, including five teenagers, to a local summer camp of their choice. Students in the outreach program have never attended camps, sports clubs or after-school programs, in large part due to costs, explained program manager Natalie Mallinson.
A five-day summer camp can cost upward of $300, making the programs inaccessible to most low-income students. Many of these students end up spending their summer breaks at home, where they may not have access to electricity or running water, Ms. Mallinson said.
“These kids really don’t have much going for them this summer. Affluent families can afford to put their kids in camps, but there is no sponsorship available for the other end of the spectrum,” she said.
“This program provides vulnerable, underprivileged Caymanian children with the opportunity to attend a wide range of summer camps. Through these camps, we aim to expose children and teenagers to new interests and life skills, as well as academic support for children who are at risk of not achieving a high school qualification.”
Ms. Mallinson said she has hesitated to tell students about the fundraiser to avoid disappointment.
“They are so excited, but I haven’t really told them much because I don’t want to get their hopes up. They are used to people promising them things that don’t materialize,” she said.
Her students have expressed a variety of interests, from horseback riding to dancing.
“We are currently working with a 6-year-old who has a passion for football. By placing him in a football camp this summer, we are creating an extended family for him to take through to adulthood. Driving his passion lessens the chances of him being susceptible to crime as seen in previous generations and provides him with a strong male role model,” she said.
“We are also working with three girls of primary age who have spent most of their childhood growing up without water or electricity. This summer, our outreach program aims to give these girls a summer to remember, where they can finally have a chance to thrive.”
To sponsor a student, contact Ms. Mallinson at [email protected]