Summer 2018 - In This Issue:
Arcadia-- The students enrolled in the Summer Reading Program at Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities farm worker community had a special guest reader. Bishop Frank Dewane of the Diocese of Venice entertained the 39 kindergarten to fourth graders with the reading of "The Giving Tree." The program is part of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading supported by The Patterson Foundation along with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and United Way Suncoast. The grant from The Patterson Foundation allowed Catholic Charities to extend the summer camp to eight weeks with a focus on reading. The campers received a wristband for the number of books completed. Activities were coordinated to go with the reading materials for each day. 

Refugee Resettlement

Sarasota--Catholic Charities participated in the 2018 World Refugee Day at the University of South Florida Sarasota Manatee campus. The event was themed "Celebrating Our Cultures Together." Catholic Charities clients of the Refugee Resettlement Program entertained the crowd with a cello and piano and singing performance in Russian of the song "Lost Soul." The day also included lunch, guest speakers, dance routines from the Cuban Youth Ballet of Sarasota and Fred Astaire Dancers of Sarasota along with stories from refugees. " I had to leave my country which I loved for political reasons," said Adrian, a refugee. " I have never felt the amount of freedom as I have felt in this country.  I am hoping my hands will help to build up this great country." Another refugee Lubian said, "My husband and I were determined to provide a better future for our family. My children have had so many opportunities here." 
Lee County--The Positive Youth Development Summer Camp of Catholic Charities was offered in Bonita Springs and Fort Myers. The campers participated in activities such as outdoor games and sports, and field trips to GameTime, Golisano Children's Museum of Naples, Naples Zoo, and Zoomers Amusement Park. The students also experienced guest speakers addressing several different topics from animal conservation to bullying and self-esteem. The Positive Youth Development Program empowers at-risk elementary students with academic support services through afternoon tutoring with case management during the school year and enrichment day camp during the summer.

Catholic Charities in  DeSoto County

Arcadia--All Faiths Food Bank is nourishing children and their families at Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities. Children 18 years old and younger enjoy a healthy lunch at the farm worker community through All Faiths Food Bank's Campaign Against Summer Hunger. The children also are provided daily snack packs available at the two Casa San Juan Bosco community centers. Education and enrichment activities are offered to both children and adults at Casa San Juan Bosco. Catholic Charities efforts are supported by a group of volunteers who assist children with homework, and provide leadership for adult activities such as English and Zumba classes. Catholic Charities partners with a variety of community agencies to bring educational experiences and health and wellness activities to the residents of Casa San Juan Bosco. 
Sarasota-- The St. Thomas More Summer Youth Mission spent a day at Bethesda House of Catholic Charities doing some heavy lifting and cleaning up. The 25 middle school age students assisted with unloading the food truck, clearing out the storage unit, washing down outdoor tables and chairs, and organizing the kitchen. Bethesda House is a community drop in center that provides individuals and families living with HIV the support to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Services include a nutrition center, clothing, shower and laundry facilities, computer assistance, benefit applications, access to medical care, and case management services. Catholic Charities is grateful to the students for their generous volunteerism!

AFCAAM of Catholic Charities  

Fort Myers--During four fun-filled weeks in June, 25 elementary school children participated in the AFCAAM of Catholic Charities Summer Reading Camp. Each day began with mindfulness exercises that included deep breathing and yoga. Afterwards the campers traveled to the magical land of reading and storytelling along with outdoor play and games. The summer camp included guest speakers such as officers from the Fort Myers Police Department and field trips to Peace River Wildlife Center, JN "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, and the Butterfly Estates. 
Campers documented their experience by writing a paragraph depicting their favorite activities.  Christian, a fourth grader, said " My favorite part about summer camp is the reading hours and my favorite book to read was Mean Marvin's Garden. I hope I can do it next summer." First grader Giovanni said, "My favorite part was having fun on the field trips. The Butterfly Estates was my favorite. Biscuit was my favorite book and I want to read more books like that one." The goal of the Summer Reading Camp is to pave the way for campers to become life-long readers.
Sarasota-- Pirates invaded and princesses graced the Summer Camp at St. Martha's Early Learning Center of Catholic Charities. This summer the preschool children experienced Space Week, Under the Sea Week, Jungle Week, Cooking Week, and the favorite Princess and Pirate Week. They also had special visitors come to the center and a weekly water play day. All the activities included kindergarten readiness skills.  St. Martha's Early Learning Center serves low-income families and offers the Creative Curriculum for Preschool Program where children are encouraged to explore science, math, reading, writing, art, technology and music through indoor and outdoor learning centers. The development of fine and gross motor skills and social and emotional skills also are part of the day. The preschool received a 4.5-star rating from the Early Learning Coalition Look for the Stars Program.

Catholic Charities in Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties  

Fort Myers--Catholic Charities in Lee, Hendry and Glades counties hosted a back to school event at three office locations. A total of 62 children received necessary items at the Elizabeth Kay Galeana Center of Catholic Charities. Each child was given school supplies, a backpack, and new underwear and socks. Thank you to VIP Realty for donating $345 for school supplies and St. Cecilia Parish for providing underwear and socks.  Often students lack decent, or sometimes any, underwear and socks and basic supplies a t the beginning of the school year. Needy e lementary students will receive the same items at Catholic Charities in Clewiston and Clare House of Catholic Charities in Fort Myers.