Our outlook on life is shaped by many factors including the variety of experiences we have as a child. Footpath’s mission is to help at-risk, underprivileged and foster care kids in the greater Cleveland area thrive through enriching life experiences.
How can experiences impact these kids in a meaningful way? The reality is a lot of these children from under-served communities haven’t had the exposure to the recreational activities that can help form a child’s ambition. They may have heard about what’s out there from school or television, but they can feel things are out of their reach. Financially, this is often true. Footpath aims to be an advocate for these kids and give them access to experiences that give them hope and can help them see how big their dreams really can be. By empowering these kids and giving them opportunities to thrive, they can see their fullest potential in life.
Summer camp has been a major focus of ours because it offers so much all in one package. Not only do they have access to valuable recreational activities such as sports, swimming, boating, hiking, crafts and games but they also develop valuable life skills. Kids learn team-building, exhibit increases in self-esteem, feel a sense of community, have access to a variety of mentors, learn about their strengths, form layered friendships and can gain a fresh perspective on life that gives them hope for a brighter future. Kids build courage and resiliency while at camp and this lays the foundation for a path towards success.
In addition to gained skills, these kids can truly just be kids at camp. Many children living in poverty do not feel completely carefree on a consistent basis. They are often taking care of other family members, worrying about their family’s finances or feeling stressed about their futures. At camp they can temporarily let go of the pressures of life and feel safe and at peace. This is something every kid should feel on a regular basis. Through enrichment programming we aim to enhance their lives and impact the way they see the world. They can hold onto their memories to help see them through tougher times.
As with most nonprofits, our mission needs to be a team effort. We rely on the support of the community to come together and contribute towards our mutual goals. Making sure kids have their basic needs met is clearly a critical piece of the puzzle. Footpath and our volunteers definitely want to contribute to this goal but we also aim to take it a step further and change the trajectory of their path in life while potentially breaking the cycle of poverty.
Click here for more information on how you can help Footpath.