Thursday 11th August, 2005

 

Bringing sunshine into children’s lives

 
 
 
 
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The children get a good workout and enjoy themselves at the same time doing gymnastics.

This sweet little basketballer enjoys herself at Aunty Kimberly’s Sunshine Camp.

This sunshine girl could not get enough of hola hoop at Aunty Kimberly’s Sunshine Camp.

Photos: Karla Ramoo

BY MARSHA MOKOOL

Auntie Kimberly’s Sunshine Camp is not just another summer camp. The camp caters for both privileged and under-privileged children in the Port-of-Spain district.

Kimberly Harrison, a teacher at Children’s Montessori School, Oxford Street, has been conducting the camp for 15 years.

She said her students and past students are used to calling her Aunty Kimberly wherever she goes, hence the name of the camp.

The camp is being held from August 2 to September 2 at the Chinese Association, St Ann’s.

This year she is catering for 24 children from three underprivileged homes, free of charge. She has been making provisions for disadvantaged children for ten years.

“The camp is not primarily for children in homes, but due to the success of the camp, we have been able to cater for them,” she said.

The weekly rate for the other 24 children in the camp is $200. There is also a group special for two or more children from the same family at a total cost of $650 a month.

The children have access to computer games, with an introduction to Spanish. They are exposed to art and craft, gymnastics, cricket, football, basketball, singing, dancing, drama, kid aerobics, indoor games and field trips.

Someone from the national team will be coming in to coach them on football. They are also trained by gym and pan instructors at the camp.

In Harrison’s view, it is important for the disadvantaged children to mesh with the “regular” children.

“They are able to feel like a part of society, interacting with other children their age. Many of them are very talented, but they don’t push themselves because they are conditioned to believe they could only reach a certain level.

“They suffer from low self-esteem because they are not able to reap the same benefits as their privileged peers or be rewarded for their talent or hard work.

“I believe they have it in them. They just need an opportunity to express themselves and not be bracketed,” said Harrison.

Harrison, the mother of a 12-year-old son, says she absolutely enjoys working with the children in the camp.

“Those from the homes are a joy to have around because they are very independent and disciplined. They are not spoiled, but they crave love and look forward to coming to the camp and socialising with the other children,” said Harrison.

These girls call themselves the BET girls. On top is Sydney Lara, the daughter of former West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara.

Kimberly Harrison of Auntie Kimberly’s Sunshine Camp helps the children with their aerobics.

For details on registration, please call Kimberly Harrison at 730-4259.

 

 

 

 

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