There are over 1400 children who have open cases of abuse or neglect with Charleston County’s Department of Social Services at any given time. Eric is one of them. Removed from his home last September after suffering beatings from his mother’s boyfriend, he is now in foster care. This summer Eric would like to attend a basketball camp, but his foster caregivers do not have the money to send him.
One local organization would like to change that. HALOS (Helping and Lending Outreach Support) is a local public/private partnership that provides needed resources and services to children like Eric, children who otherwise might not get a helping hand.
“It’s about creating access,” said Kim Clifton, HALOS Executive Director. “There are so many wonderful opportunities in our area, but it’s the children who most need them that often don’t have access. We create that access by paying the fees for children that need it.”
HALOS hopes to send 120 children in foster care to camp or other activities this summer. According to Clifton, the organization will provide access to any camps that the parent, foster parent, or other caregiver thinks are appropriate for the child.
“In one case, we had a child with a drug addicted mother,” recalled Clifton. “Her grandmother took the child in, then tested positive for cocaine. Then she was placed with an aunt who was medically unstable. This was a seven year old girl! We discovered she had a love of dance and we were able to get her into some programs….It’s really what the caregiver finds that meets the needs of that child.”
To help raise money for summer camp scholarships, HALOS is planning a “Spring Fling” fundraiser for local artisans and other vendors at the Daniel’s Landing Club House on April 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A portion of all proceeds will go towards the HALOS camp fund.
“The issue with camp for these children is that it’s not a luxury,” said Pat Cook, co-coordinator of the Daniel Island event. “It’s a necessity. It’s a necessity to keep the children off the street during the summer, because if they’re not, they might just be wandering the streets and getting into trouble.”
According to HALOS volunteers, a camp experience gives abused and neglected kids an opportunity to enrich their lives in a safe environment. “It does huge things for their self-esteem,” said Cook, who got involved with HALOS through her church, Christ Episcopal Church in Mount Pleasant. Cook’s co-coordinator of the Daniel Island market, Belle Croft, was eager to get involved in helping HALOS children.
“I’ve always had a tender heart for children, so it makes it very easy,” said Croft, who will sell products from her Arbonne skin care and make-up business at the event. “I look at my own children and they’re so blessed…To be able to do something like this for other children is just incredible. I wish we could do a lot more, but just to touch one child, you can make such a difference.”
In addition to summer camps, HALOS funds gifts for the children’s birthdays and holidays (they provided presents for over 2,000 last year), school uniforms and backpacks, bedding, and basic necessities such as toiletries and clothing. They also offer special programs to enhance self-esteem.
“In another case, we had a mother who had to leave everything behind to escape an abusive situation,” said Clifton. “She was living in an apartment on the floor, sharing a blanket for her and her two children. We can go in and alleviate that through our Sleep Tight Campaign.”
Clifton is hopeful that HALOS will be able to meet the summer camp needs of all children currently served by the Charleston County Department of Social Services. One camp in North Charleston, for example, costs just $275 for a full ten week session and includes one hot meal a day.
“It is unusual, but we really have met every request that’s been made of us,” she said. “We’re working with the case workers to increase the education of options.”
To make a donation to the HALOS summer camp scholarship program, visit their Web site at www.charlestonhalos.org or send a check to HALOS, 3366 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, S.C. 29405.
Spring Fling: Fundraiser for HALOS
Daniel Island Marketplace
Saturday, April 25
Daniel’s Landing Club House
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Participating vendors include Pat Cook of Waterbeadle, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind custom jewelry; Belle Croft, Arbonne Health & Wellness, skin care and make-up; Kelly Richey, Melange of Charleston; and Elizabeth Carlton Pottery. Baked goods will also be available. For additional information, contact Cook at 475-6317 or Croft at 324-0647.
Summer Camp Listings
The Camp Invention program is a national nonprofit science enrichment experience of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation that develops creative thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving skills through hands-on exploration and fun. 12 Locations in Coastal South Carolina, including Daniel Island School., 800.968.4332, www.campinvention.org; Ages – current K-5th graders (Rising 1st through 6th graders); Dates: Week-long program in the months of June, July, and August.
Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry Spring & Summer Camps
At Camp CML, everyday is an adventure! Children enjoy daily arts & crafts, science projects, storytimes, singalongs, games & activities and of course, time to enjoy the Museum. 25 Ann Street Charleston, SC 29403; 843.853.8962 x221; firstname.lastname@example.org; Ages: 3-5 / 5-7; Dates: April 6-10 (Spring Break Camp) and June 8 – August 7 (CML Summer Camps).
1/2 day and full day options. Different activity themes each week including use of our jungle gyms, indoor pool, rock climbing wall, zipline, exergaming and more! Visit www.esacfunfit.com and click on ‘Summer’ for complete information. 910 Johnnie Dodds Blvd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464; 843-302-4222; funfit@eastshoreac; Ages: 3-13; Dates: June 1-August 21.
Island Adventure Camp
Campers participate in sports, arts, crafts and other special activities. An off-site camp is also available for ages 9-13 – New This Summer! Family Circle Tennis Center, 161 Seven Farms Dr., DI, SC 29492; 843-849-5300; email@example.com; Ages 5-12; Weekly June 8-12; July 6-Aug. 14 HAL 3-in-1 Tennis Camp Improve your eye-hand coordination with the revolutionary
HAL 3-in-1 training system.
This fast-paced program makes hitting 5,000 balls/week fun, boosting confidence and improvement. Family Circle Tennis Center, 161 Seven Farms Dr., DI, SC 29492; 843-849-5300; firstname.lastname@example.org; Ages 4-17; Weekly June 8-Aug. 14.
There are over 1400 children who have open cases of abuse or neglect with charleston county’s department of social services at any given time. eric is one of them. removed from his home last september after suffering beatings from his mother’s boyfriend, he is now in foster care. this summer eric would like to attend a basketball camp, but his foster caregivers do not have the money to send him.