Summer break is an exciting time for many children and teens. However, this excitement can sometimes lead to trouble when they are left home alone all day.

“If we did not have affordable programs, more than 80 children and teens would most likely be at home alone, hanging out with friends or in the streets getting into trouble,” said Shawna Roy, director of the Buckner Family Hope Center at Houston/Aldine.

Fortunately, the Hope Center combats this problem by offering all-day summer programs designed to help children and teens grow in a variety of ways, including plenty of fun.

The children’s program for ages 6-12 includes interactive activities such as arts and crafts, recreation, educational games, cooking classes, Vacation Bible School and field trips. These opportunities are designed to help children grow in unique environments that maximize fun while learning.

The teen summer program takes a different approach, focused on giving teens ages 13-18 ways to develop critical skills for a successful future. Over the course of the summer, they’re able to develop life skills, learn about higher education, listen to guest speakers and go on educational field trips.

Part of the curriculum engages teens in real-life experiences, where they’re encouraged to write a business plan and start a business as a class. At the end of summer, the students host a business luncheon to practice the skills they learned. The event is primarily for local business people and sponsors who the students invite through networking. Typically, they create a program that includes a keynote speaker, career panel and student speeches. The profits from the students’ work are then split up based on attendance and participation.

In addition to the all-day summer programs, the calendar of events is filled with family and community evening events.

“We are determined to help children have a positive environment to belong and be exposed to so many opportunities that they wouldn’t normally otherwise have,” Shawna said. “The parents are always so thankful for the program and express how much their kids grow in a variety of ways over the summer.” 

Written by Kayln Grider, a summer intern with Buckner communications. 

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