Kiwanis grant will support inclusive J Camp initiative

A new $4,800 grant from the Birmingham Kiwanis Foundation will support The J’s new initiative to provide traditional day camp opportunities this summer for children with developmental and/or physical disabilities. J Camp is committed to provide a welcoming environment for all students regardless of background and focuses on understanding and embracing diversity.

“We’re excited that this grant will help ensure that students of varying physical and cognitive abilities will be able to meaningfully participate in J Camp,” says Barbara Traweek, senior director of youth services and early education.

J Camp is an opportunity to engage in enriching experiences, make new friends, and enjoy time away from the structure of the school year, Barbara explains. It also allows children to interact with and develop relationships with adults and teenage camp counselors who are outside of their family and social networks. 

“We’re so thankful to Kiwanis for helping us make our J Camp experience possible for a group of kids who would not previously have been able to participate,” Barbara adds.

In order to meet the individual needs of campers who require additional support to engage in camp activities, the grant will allow J Camp to contract with two support aids who will provide the necessary support to campers with disabilities. We are working with United Ability, a local disability resource center, to enroll children in the program.

Beyond its benefits for participants, J Camp is an important resource for working parents. Access to reliable and beneficial childcare for school-aged children during the summer months is critical for families with single parents or when both adults in a household work outside the home.