Family Services and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Camp Wewa Project Combines Service-Learning with Adoption Matching Process
On August 28, more than 30 foster youth gathered at YMCA Camp Wewa to help build park benches and possible family connections. This adoption matching event, sponsored by Family Services of Metro Orlando and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, used this service-learning project as a tool, giving foster youth a way to interact with potential parents in a stress-free environment.
“This event was an amazing success,” said Chala Barrington-Cruz, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Adoption Recruiter. “Kids and parents were working together to accomplish a goal and I think they really bonded during it.”
Two groups of pre-matched parents and foster youth completed 32 park benches to be used in Camp Wewa’s 60-year-old outdoor chapel. Younger children also participated in painting the outside of two cabins. Youth were so engaged in the project that many chose to continue working on benches instead of having a water balloon fight.
Family Services of Metro Orlando partners with Camp Wewa over the summer to send foster youth to camp each year. Twelve-year-old Julius spent a week at Camp Wewa during the summer and returned to help with the service-learning project.
“This is the first time I’ve ever built something,” said Julius, who is featured in the Heart Gallery of Metro Orlando. “I really liked coming out here and learning how to do things. I met a lot of nice people, too.”
The event was sponsored by Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and Embraced by Grace. Dennis Grenier, facility director of Camp Wewa, and Wanda Landry, facility services, led the event along with Chala Barrington-Cruz and Shanda Moorman, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids adoption recruiters, and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers Colleen Shea and David Fain. In 2010, there have been three service learning projects and four adoption matching events, but this is the first time the events have been combined.