The Sojourner House MOMS summer camps are a vital and fun aspect of the Sojourner House mission to support mothers and their children transition to a healthy and substance-free life. Every summer, the elementary school-age children of Sojourner House clients are given an opportunity to learn and grow while enjoying all that summer in Pittsburgh has to offer. A summer camp is offered 4 days a week from July through August. Every day the children participate in academic programs, physical activity, artistic project and then cap off the week with a weekly field trip.
Sponsored by the Homeless Children’s Education Fund, the summer camp is staffed by community volunteers and teachers from the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Another community partner provides the camp with breakfast and lunch. In an effort to not only keep the kids busy and have them enjoy their summer break, camp focuses on academics to ensure that the kids avoid the “summer slide” a slip in academic skills during the summer months.
The favorite activities of the campers are trips to the Zoo and the Carnegie Science Center, cooling off at the spray park and creating masterpieces with the Citiparks Roving Art Cart. But the excitement isn’t just for the kids. Rita Hill, Lead Family Support Specialist shares, “Moms are as excited as the staff and kids. Camp gives the mothers the opportunity to do the things they need to during the day and they are excited that their kids will be socializing with their peers, getting help with school and having fun.”
The camp is for children from ages 5-10, but the teens and tweens aren’t forgotten. Rita and her team of family support specialists work to enroll the older kids in summer camps outside of Sojourner House.
While Rita is always excited for camp to start, she says that the last day of camp is her favorite. “The last day of camp is a celebration. We have an ice cream social with the campers and their parents where they can show off all the activities they’ve done.” A slideshow of all of the places they visited all summer plays while an African drummer plays and the kids can show their parents all the things they’ve made during camp. “I love to see the children and parents sharing together in what the kids have done all summer.”