Local Teens Make an Impact through Summer Service Camp

LAUDERHILL, FL (July 23, 2012)– Summer is a critical out-of-school time when children

Cristina Palazzese and Oliver Lareche

and teens can benefit from enriched learning, new experiences and making new friends.  In Broward, one organization’s summer camp served up plenty of inspiration to 42 teens who not only found new friendships, but made a difference in Broward communities.

HandsOn Broward’s Summer Service Camp recently provided teens with meaningful service and in-depth learning experiences surrounding critical community issues.  During a week-long event from July 9th through the 13th, campers participated in projects that benefited local nonprofit organizations.  Service activities included:

  • arts and crafts with the seniors at Northeast Focal Point Senior Center in Deerfield Beach,
  • CPR and disaster response training at the Children’s Services Council in Lauderhill,
  • native habitat revitalization at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale, and
  • community projects at Tiny Town Academy in North Lauderdale, where the youth planted vegetable gardens and assembled playground equipment for pre-school children.

To wrap up their week of impact, the teens packed 6,800 pounds of food at Feeding South Florida in Pembroke Park before touring the Jubilee Center of South Broward and Broward Outreach Center in Hollywood.  Both organizations provide services to the homeless in South Florida.

Natalie Martinez and Khamila Quevedo

“I was able to change the community for the better by giving children a safe place to play, packing food that will be the meal of a hungry family, and improving our ecosystem,” said camper Natalie Martinez, 15, from Sunrise.  “The service camp has had a big impact on me by showing me the different needs in my community. It has made me more aware of the need for volunteer service.”

In its inaugural year, the summer service camp was embraced by parents and students from throughout the Broward community.  Within two weeks, HandsOn Broward received 110 applications for the 42 slots offered.  The organization plans to continue offering service camps each summer and during spring breaks, and will host a three-day immersion learning service experience for teens in February.

“We believe every child needs to know that they can make a difference in the world, and indeed they can,” said Dale Hirsch, CEO of HandsOn Broward. “Our Summer Service Camp was able to highlight what can happen when you ignite a powerful movement of young change agents who become inspired through service to communities.”

In addition to the valuable learning experiences in a camp setting, student participants earned 45 community service hours that can be used toward their high school service requirement.  Individuals interested in learning more about upcoming service camps can contact HandsOn Broward at contactus@handsonbroward.org.  HandsOn Broward also offers hundreds of opportunities to volunteers of all ages year-round through their volunteer  opportunities calendar at www.handsonbroward.org.

Check out all of our Summer Service Camp photos in our Facebook albums HERE!

Summer Service Camp participants visited Northeast focal Point Senior Center in Deerfield Beach

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