Center for Family Justice kicks off Camp HOPE

This weekend 24 children from Fairfield County will board buses for Camp HOPE America-Connecticut, a therapeutic camp and mentoring program for local children impacted by the generational cycles of domestic and sexual violence.

Camp HOPE America-Connecticut is the first summer camp and mentoring program in New England for children who have experienced primary or secondary abuse and trauma.
This groundbreaking camp, which offers a clinically-proven curriculum designed to help children overcome trauma to lead more hopeful and resilient lives, is being offered by CFJ in close collaboration with the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA Camp Hi-Rock in the Massachusetts’ Berkshires.

“We are thrilled to bring this program for the second summer season to children who have experienced trauma they did not deserve,” said Debra A. Greenwood, president/CEO of CFJ. “By founding a Camp HOPE in our region, we have taken an important step toward giving kids back part of the childhoods they have lost to abuse and trauma. We are also giving them hope they can lead safer, healthier lives free of trauma and abuse in the future.”

Greenwood noted since its founding here last year, Camp HOPE America-Connecticut has galvanized friends and supporters of CFJ who have worked tirelessly to make sure the camp could grow. This year camp enrollment has almost doubled from its inaugural season in 207. This year, CFJ was able to send a total of 45 children to attend the program during two successive weeks at Camp Hi-Rock.

It costs approximately $1,000 for CFJ to send a camper for a week of overnight camp and hundreds more dollars to outfit each camper with gear for a week at camp. Each child who participates in the program does so for free.

“We have had an outpouring of community support for this program from donors and volunteers who helped bring this life-changing experience to these kids,” said Greenwood. “We are also incredibly grateful to the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA and YMCA Camp Hi-Rock for a partnership which makes it possible for us to bring our children to an exceptional, accredited summer camp.”

Among the benefactors who have supported Camp HOPE America-Connecticut is Verizon Corp., which has endowed multiple camperships locally and other Camp HOPE programs throughout the United States.

Camp HOPE America-Connecticut is modeled after several other Camp HOPE programs which have launched throughout the United States during the past several years. The first Camp HOPE opened in San Diego, Calif. in 2003.

These are camps that can and do change lives: Clinical research has shown these fun, but therapeutic camps work; giving children who attend a greater sense of optimism and resilience.
In 2017 CFJ was recognized with a prestigious national award for innovation by the National Children’s Alliance for bringing Camp HOPE Connecticut to children from the six communities it serves including Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Trumbull and Stratford.

To create this transformative experience, Camp HOPE America- Connecticut depends on a close partnership with the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA, which is offering its accredited camp facilities and support from its expert staff to help CFJ provide this program to children ages of 7 to 14.

“We are grateful for the financial support we have received from generous benefactors to help us bring this camp to children who will benefit from this experience,” said Greenwood.

To support Camp HOPE America-Connecticut, contact Robert Hojnacki, CFJ’s Chief Development Officer at [email protected] or at 203-334-6154, ext. 121.

Photo by Amanda Posila

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