Our most recent innovation started during the 2012-13 school year when Camp of Dreams partnered with BZLCS. As part of our agreement with the school, it provides us with office facilities in return for Camp of Dreams conducting their after-school program five days a week. The program began modestly with 20 students participating daily―all attending Bronzeville Lighthouse Academy―and has reached our present capacity of approximately 30 students participating daily, grades K-8. Since not all of the students attend the program every day, we have a total of 61 children registered with a long waiting list.
The program runs from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon-6 p.m. on Friday. Our curriculum coordinator Antoine Crenshaw develops the curriculum, supervises the staff, and is directly involved with the students. He has two or three instructors working with the students on a daily basis.
As the school day ends, students continuing in our program first receive a nutritional snack followed by an opportunity to participate in a brief physical activity to unwind and relax. Afterward, half the students complete homework with adult support and receive academic tutoring in reading and math skills. The other half participate in enrichment activities (art, dance, sports, cultural exploration, Spanish, conflict resolution). The two groups switch places midway through the afternoon.
To conclude the afternoon, a reading and story time session further supports the learning of Camp of Dreams youth participants. Other activities will include field trips to museums, presentations by cultural arts performing groups, and guest speakers to broaden and enrich student experiences. Service learning activities will also be incorporated.
Twice a year, Camp of Dreams hosts a family celebration to recognize the participation of youth and showcase their successes.