Service Learning Project at Camp Thunderbird

Eight foster youth volunteer to give children a childhood by helping a summer camp that serves developmentally disabled youth

On March 21, Hands On Orlando organized 200 volunteers including eight foster youth and seven staff from Great Oaks Village, Milestone Social Services, Inc. and Healthy Families Orange to help Camp Thunderbird prepare for the start of summer.

Camp Thunderbird, is a summer camp for developmentally disabled youth that is run by <a hrer=”http://questinc.org/”>Quest, Inc</a>. In its 50 year history, the camp has never turned anyone away due to financial limitations. Large projects like this provide much needed work  for the organization. Volunteers at this project also benefited by earning a free pass to Disney through the Hands On network’s Give a Day, Get a Day promotion.

“I’m really excited to go to Disney,” said 14-year-old Preseton, “but it’s really cool knowing that I am helping making the summer safer for other kids.”

Along with Will, John, Skyler and Raquel Soto, a caseworker aide at Great Oaks Village, the group helped spread 600 bags of mulch through the camps two playgrounds.

The group from Milestone Social Services, Inc.  cleared brush to increase visibility from the cabins to the trails and lake. Justin, Jonathan, Andrew and Demetrius along with residential trainers at Milestone Social Services, Inc., Glenise Lillard and Emanuel Smalls, enjoyed their day and are looking forward to future service learning opportunities.

Anna Williams, the assistant program manager at Healthy Families Orange, along with coworkers Joy Williams, lead clinical supervisor; Karen Cino, lead clinical supervisor; and Linder Romera, office coordinator, were on kitchen detail and helped clean the cafeteria inside and out.

“I’ve recommended that youth attend this camp for years when I worked with Children’s Home Society,” said Anna, “but this is my first time ever coming out here. It’s amazing!”

Camp Thunderbird features a ropes course, a five senses garden and a pool for campers to enjoy a real summer camp experience. Chris Allen, executive director of Hands on Orlando, and Danielle Hunsberger, volunteer services manager, coordinated the service event. Participation of foster youth was coordinated by David Fain, AmeriCorps* VISTA member working with Family Services of Metro Orlando.

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