BY BETH FITZPATRICK

BRIDGEPORT, CT — The weekend of August 3rd, 24 children from Fairfield County will board buses for Camp HOPE America — Connecticut, a therapeutic camp and mentoring program for local children impacted by the generational cycles of domestic and sexual violence.

Camp HOPE America — Connecticut is the first summer camp and mentoring program in New England for children who have experienced primary or secondary abuse and trauma.

This groundbreaking camp, which offers a clinically-proven curriculum designed to help children overcome trauma to lead more hopeful and resilient lives, is being offered by CFJ in close collaboration with the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA Camp Hi-Rock in the Massachusetts’ Berkshires.

“We are thrilled to bring this program for the second summer season to children who have experienced trauma they did not deserve,” says Debra A. Greenwood, President/CEO of CFJ. “By founding a Camp HOPE in our region, we have taken an important step toward giving kids back part of the childhoods they have lost to abuse and trauma. We are also giving them hope they can lead safer, healthier lives free of trauma and abuse in the future.”

Greenwood noted that, since its founding last year, Camp HOPE America — Connecticut has galvanized friends and supporters of CFJ who have worked tirelessly to make sure the camp could grow. This year, camp enrollment has almost doubled from its inaugural season in 2017, with a total of 45 children attending the program during two successive weeks this summer at Camp Hi-Rock.

It costs approximately $1,000 for CFJ to send a camper for a week of overnight camp and hundreds more dollars to outfit each camper with gear for a week at camp. Each child who participates in the program does so for free.

“We have had an outpouring of community support for this program from donors and volunteers who helped bring this life-changing experience to these kids,” said Greenwood. “We are also incredibly grateful to the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA and YMCA Camp Hi-Rock for a partnership which makes it possible for us to bring our children to an exceptional, accredited summer camp.”

Among the benefactors who have supported Camp HOPE America — Connecticut is Verizon Corp., which has endowed multiple camperships locally and other Camp HOPE America programs throughout the United States.

Camp HOPE America — Connecticut is modeled after several other Camp HOPE America programs which have launched throughout the United States during the past several years. The first Camp HOPE America opened in San Diego, California in 2003.

These are camps that can and do change lives. Clinical research has shown these fun, but therapeutic camps work, giving children who attend a greater sense of optimism and resiliency.

In 2017, CFJ was recognized with a prestigious national award for innovation by the National Children’s Alliance for bringing Camp HOPE America — Connecticut to children from the six communities it serves including Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Trumbull and Stratford.

To create this transformative experience, Camp HOPE America — Connecticut depends on a close partnership with the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA, which is offering its accredited camp facilities and support from its expert staff to help CFJ provide this program to children ages of 7 to 14.

“We are grateful for the financial support we have received from generous benefactors to help us bring this camp to children who will benefit from this experience,” said Greenwood.

To support Camp HOPE America — Connecticut, please contact Robert Hojnacki, CFJ’s Chief Development Officer at RHojnacki@CenterforFamilyJustice.org or at 203-334-6154 ext. 121.

ABOUT THE CENTER FOR FAMILY JUSTICE

The Center for Family Justice Inc. (formerly The Center for Women and Families of Eastern Fairfield County Inc.), brings all domestic, sexual and child abuse services – crisis intervention, police, prosecutors, civil/legal providers, counseling – under one roof, in our headquarters in Bridgeport, CT. Together, we work to break the cycle of violence by helping those in crisis restore their lives. Although our name has changed, we continue with the work we have provided for 12 decades, providing free, confidential, bilingual crisis services in Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull. It is the comprehensive services our partners are providing that are streamlining the road to healing and self-sufficiency.

Within the past year, The Center answered more than 1000 calls on a 24-hour crisis hotline; assisted with the civil and criminal court processes for more than 2,500 survivors of domestic violence; responded to more than 500 survivors of sexual assault and their families; provided a safe home for more than 100 women and children fleeing domestic abuse; coordinated the investigations of more than 170 cases of child sexual and severe physical abuse, developing service plans for the young survivors and their families; and provided psycho-educational support to more than 1,200 survivors of domestic violence, planning for their safety and promoting self-sufficiency.

As part of our mission, The Center educates approximately 4,000 members of the community about the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse to prevent future violence and spread the word that about the services we offer at The Center for Family Justice. Annually, we teach more than 2,000 children and teens about building healthy relationships, bullying prevention and dating violence.

For more information, visit www.CenterForFamilyJustice.org.

Original Article: CFJ Begins Second Season of Camp HOPE