This summer, Lutheran Services of Georgia launched LSG Kids Club! LSG Kids Club provides fun, therapeutic day camp experiences for newly arrived refugee children. The program aims to promote healing, adjustment, and confidence-building for recently resettled refugee kids who have experienced trauma.
Beginning on July 13, LSG Kids Club held four weeks of summer camp for refugee kids. 47 children attended camp who were recently resettled from Somalia, Burma, Bhutan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Together, the children spoke eight different languages: Somali, Nepali, Burmese, Rohingya, Malay, Swahili, Arabic, and Farsi. Kids participated in yoga, ballet, music and voice lessons, pet therapy, art projects, gardening, team and trust building activities, athletic activities, and fieldtrips to Piedmont Park and Zoo Atlanta.
Camp Coordinator Jessie Burnette reflected on the first season of LSG Kids Club: "We have already received so many gracious thanks from parents who say their children benefited from their experiences with Kids Club. In our short pilot season, we saw children make great strides in processing fears, building friendships across language barriers, and leading other youth. I cannot wait to see what a full season combined with an ongoing mentor program can do for our children and the Clarkston community. It is our goal to serve each and every child that is resettled through our agency."
LSG thanks the following organizations and volunteers for making this first season a success:
- Living Grace Lutheran Church (Camp Venue)
- Atlanta Pet Partners (Pet Therapy Group)
- Funda Yilmaz, LPC (Yoga instructor and licensed therapist)
- Kathryn Farmer (Ballet instructor)
- Whitney Burnette (Voice/Music instructor)
- Matthew Johnson (Volunteer/Camp Counselor)
- Pam Amy-Cupp (Volunteer/Camp Counselor)
- Annie Goodman (Intern/Camp Counselor)
- Alix Janke (Driver/Fieldtrip Chaperone)
- Natalie Yasson (LSG Staff: Driver/Field Chaperone)
- Melanie Johnson (LSG Staff: Camp Assistant/Volunteer/Supporter)
- Padam Rai (Nepali Interpeter)
- Abdul Rahman (Somali Interpreter)
- Safa Shamsuddin (Burmese/Rohingya Interpreter)
- Christine Nzamuranga (Swahili Interpreter)
- Jessie Burnette (Camp Coordinator)
- VSA Arts (for providing Zoo Atlanta tickets)
LSG Kids Club will continue to serve newly arrived refugee children by hosting therapeutic camps throughout the year. LSG also plans to implement a mentoring program serving the same population of children. LSG Kids Club welcomes volunteers who would like to be a part of making a positive impact in the lives of refugee children by teaching a skillset, such as art, yoga, dance, music, theater, athletics, teaching, counseling, and more.
LSG Kids Club is supported, in part, through a grant from the Lutheran Services for Children Endowment at the ELCA Foundation. To see photos from the camp, click here. For more information or to inquire about volunteering, contact Jessie Burnette at email@example.com.