• Thom A.

New Hope for Families offers social distance and fun for children at Summer Camp 2020

Bloomington, Ind. — Although parts of our community remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are families with school-aged children that need childcare over summer break, now more than ever.

New Hope for Families provides year-round top-tier nationally-accredited childcare and pre-K education through The Nest at New Hope; but the families in our shelter need childcare and educational programming for their school-aged children during the summer, as well. To meet that need, New Hope for Families has created an on-site summer camp. We are delighted to announce that we have recruited an outstanding Summer Camp 2020 team, and they are having a blast with the kids we serve!

What: Summer Camp 2020

When: Weekdays starting Monday, June 8, while MCCSC is on summer break

Where: New Hope for Families

Who: School-aged children (approximately 10-12 kids total); participation limited to children of families in emergency shelter Why: Access to good quality summer camps benefits children and their families. For families experiencing homelessness, this access is especially important.

“Experiencing homelessness is stressful for families, and can be traumatic for children. When we provide a fun, engaging summer camp, we help alleviate the stress on both parents and kids,” said Chase Techentin, shelter director at New Hope for Families. “Our goal is to give kids a fun summer experience and empower parents to obtain employment and housing.”

Summer enrichment programming is essential for children to mitigate the loss of learning outside of the school setting, and during these anxious times, children impacted by homelessness require access to additional social support from dedicated adults and their peers. By offering an on-site program, we are able to tailor activities to the needs of the children present, helping them navigate through the multiple crises they are experiencing.

For parents, access to summer camps can directly impact their ability to gain or maintain employment. As we move into the summer, many parents are being asked to return to work, but they might not be able to without adequate care for their school-aged children. If families do not have adequate childcare, parents are at risk of losing employment.

Even in the best of times, it can be very difficult and expensive to secure space in summer camps unless families have planned and budgeted very carefully. By offering free on-site programming for the families in our shelter, we ensure parents have the assistance they need and can feel safe in the knowledge that their children are being well cared for.

How: To best serve our families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Summer Camp 2020 takes place largely on-site at New Hope, maintaining safe social distance, while offering occasional educational experiences throughout Bloomington in small groups.

“Our camp is flexible, so parents can easily enroll when they need childcare,” Techentin added, “And the groups of children are small enough to shield them from the pandemic.”

This program prioritizes parents who need childcare so they can work, but it will also provide care for children with parents who are disabled or unable to work.

Lunches for our campers are supplied by Community Kitchen of Monroe County. Funding for Summer Camp 2020 is provided by United Way of Monroe County and donors like you.

Summer Camp 2020 Staff (left to right): Alexis Pandelios, Lizzie East, and TyraRose Nibbs (New Hope for Families)

Summer Camp 2020 Staff

Alexis Pandelios Summer Camp Director

Alexis is a first-year PhD student in counseling psychology at Indiana University. Prior to coming to Bloomington, Alexis received her BA in psychology from Marshall University and her MS in developmental and quantitative psychology from Illinois State University. Over the course of her academic and professional careers, Alexis has worked in various settings with at-risk children and families. In her free time, Alexis enjoys puzzling, running, hiking, and tending to her houseplants.

TyraRose Nibbs Summer Camp Coordinator

TyraRose is entering her senior year at Indiana University, pursuing a double major in theatre and sociology. For the past five summers, TyraRose has worked at Park Tudor Summer Camp in Indianapolis and was previously a teaching assistant for students in grades K–3. During the school year, she works for the IU Office of Admissions, as well as IU Residential Programs and Services. After graduating, she hopes to attend law school. Some of her favorite free-time activities include dancing, shopping, and playing basketball.

Lizzie East Summer Camp Coordinator

Lizzie is a resident of Denver, Colorado, and is excited to explore more of Bloomington this summer. She previously worked for the City of Colorado Springs as the Teen Program Director for a local community center. Lizzie loves trying new recipes in the kitchen, taking her dog Shasta hiking and camping, and curling up with her cat Trooper and a good book.

New Hope for Families

New Hope for Families is a community leader in social services for families in crisis. We administer an emergency shelter program for families experiencing homelessness and offer nationally accredited childcare and early learning programs that give children the good start they deserve for future success in school and life.

Our residential shelter program offers emergency housing for up to seven families at a time. In response to the increased demand for services created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have temporarily increased the number of families we are serving by more than double that amount. Our staff serve families with respect and compassion, providing a safe place for parents and children to stay together when they need each other most. Through housing and childhood development services, we are committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty, one family at a time.