Father Joe’s Villages’ Therapeutic Childcare Center offers a summer of fun to children who are homeless.
Summer is an exciting time for children. The possibility of fun and adventure, the freedom from school responsibilities and the long, warm days make the summer months extra special.
However, not all children are able to enjoy the carefree fun and relaxation that summer brings.
While most kids’ summers are filled with memories of family roads trips or other vacations, summer camp, lazy days on the beach or poolside, campfires and the great outdoors, children living with the realities of homelessness likely won’t have these stories to share when they return to school.
Vacations and summer camps are simply out of reach for homeless families. The luxury of summer fun and relaxation is lost on children who don’t know where they’ll be sleeping each night and on parents who are unsure of how they’re going to keep their kids safe.
All of this changes, when children arrive at Father Joe’s Villages. They are finally able to escape the chaos of homelessness and just be kids.
Their parents can also breathe a sigh of relief. Single mother Camille prayed every night for her 7-year-old son, Michael, to stay safe as they moved from place to place. Camille hardly let Michael leave her side out of fear that he would get lost or hurt. But everything changed when they came to Father Joe’s Villages. Camille explained to Michael’s teacher,
“As soon as I walked into [Therapeutic Childcare], I was relaxed. I didn’t have to worry about where Michael was or what we he was doing. He could have fun with other kids and was free to run and play.”
At our Therapeutic Childcare Center, our wonderful staff and volunteers provide kids of all ages the childhood summer of their dreams.
During the summer months, the program transforms into a lively, engaging and fun summer camp designed to meet the unique development needs of each child while ensuring that children have the chance to enjoy the adventure and happiness that summer brings. Different activities are offered every day – games, trips to the park, arts and crafts and more. The children go on field trips visiting the library and the beach, see movies, play laser tag, and go on boat rides. Sometimes they even get to see beyond San Diego to enjoy theme parks like Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farms.
One of our child development teachers, Alexandra, shared:
I think that is one thing that is so special about these summer trips: the true joy that these kids get to experience.
Children living on the street don’t have the same opportunities to be silly and explore but at our Therapeutic Childcare Center, they are free to play, learn and develop in a fun, safe environment.
As one of our housing supervisors, Eva, shared:
We work to create an environment that is conducive to learning and playing. This is not something they can easily do when living on the streets. The children we serve will remember family game night, picnics at Father Joe’s Jinny Jo park and other outings and events offered here at the Village.
Each day we provide housing, critical support services and a fun stress-free environment to nearly 150 children. Each and every child we have the honor of serving deserves happiness and the opportunity to grow and thrive.
Summers at Father Joe’s Villages support healthy child development, important socialization and beautiful memories that the kids will cherish forever.
Yours in God’s Service to our Neighbors in Need,
P.S. Remember the words of Pope Francis:
There is a close link between the hope of a people and harmony between the generations. The joy of children makes their parents’ hearts leap and opens up the future… Children are a gift.