Monday, May 21, 2012

Let's send a kid to camp....

After a successful weekend at the Detroit Green Festival held this past weekend at the headquarters of the Horatio Williams Foundation we now turn the page as we prepare for the Salvation Army Camp in North Oakland County.... also known as Echo Grove.   These two events may seem far apart on the surface... yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Let me start by saying that meeting Horatio Williams just a few weeks back was a great experience AND an eye opening one at that.  Many of us today take for granted the things we enjoy in part of our daily life such as family, support structure, mentors, and access to recreational opportunities.   In fact Horatio's first words to me were "We're just trying to do things for the kids.... ".
It seems that with the state of the financial situation in many of our urban centers... especially in Detroit... it has effected every aspect of services that used to be provided through traditional sources AND that includes parks and recreation opportunities for youth.  As a result we continue to hear and read about youth who have gone to other places for the sense of family and that place is often times not always the best choice.  Gang activity and violence is at unspeakable levels and when one examines the root cause... it seems to come back around to no support structure or a weak one that is not able to keep kids on a promising path.  Enter groups like The Horatio Williams Foundation.

  In 1992, Horatio Williams formed On Time Transportation Inc., a non-emergency medical transportation firm that provides 24/7 service for clients suffering various injuries. Horatio notes, “The obstacles of my accident led me to this business and it’s been a blessing.”
With 17 vehicles, he has serviced over 3000 clients and employed 32 people. He went from signing autographs as a college basketball star to signing checks…helping people provide for their families. “While I still miss playing basketball,” says Horatio. “Working with my clients and providing jobs has been an honor and I thank God for the opportunity.”
He established the Horatio Williams Foundation which has provided additional charitable contributions to the community. In April he sponsors the “Second Chance Basketball Game” so that high school seniors who did not receive college scholarships have an opportunity to play in front of scouts & coaches from across the country.
In June, he sponsors a free 2 week basketball camp for over 100 youth. In August, he sponsors a free trip to Cedar Point for over 400 youth. In September, he sponsors a back to school uniform clothing drive to provide school clothing for underprivileged youth
Williams is determined to expand his youth outreach, provide more programs and reach more kids. He is currently working on providing academic (tutorial) assistance to those students needing additional in all subjects and ACT/SAT testing preparation. As he says, “Life is about learning and I believe that kids can achieve their greatness if they are given an opportunity…I feel it’s my responsibility to provide them with a chance”

 The Horatio Williams Foundation is currently seeking support to win a grant through Art Van Furniture here in Detroit and you can help in their effort simply just by casting a vote for them on line.  That would be a great start to help support a group who is getting it done!

Now... the tie in to Echo Grove Salvation Army Camp.... this camp located in North Oakland County has been providing recreational opportunities AND more in North Oakland County for years.  It is run by the Salvation Army of Southeastern Michigan and provides a great outlet and extension for youths and adult groups from all over the Detroit/Metro Detroit area.

For nearly 100 years, thousands of children from low-income families have enjoyed fresh air, exercise and the chance to make new friendships during the annual summer camp program at Echo Grove. The camping experience is more than just a pleasant vacation. Children learn new skills and self-reliance; trained counselors who understand their emotional needs and problems help them to mature. A few weeks at Echo Grove can mean a lifetime of impact for a kid who needs to be lifted  up and encouraged. 

While they are here, campers participate in a wide range of activities including
swimming instruction, Adventure Corps and Scouting, arts and crafts, music instruction, Christian education and many more.

This week we head to the Echo Grove Salvation Army Camp to present "Shift into Green...." and " Make the most of your compost..."  which are two of our portfolio of  educational and entertaining presentations we will be doing for campers.   We will focus on issues such as water conservation and how the activities of daily living effect our ability to have clean lakes in rivers we enjoy in Michigan.

With that in mind please consider making a donation to our "Send a kid to camp..." fund raising campaign this week.   Proceeds will go to the Salvation Army Camp/Eco Grove and provide scholarships for those kids who are financially in need.  So please be generous... something small will do.... since it is the small yet significant steps we take that collectively make a big difference in the world.... ;)