Relationships are at the heart of everything Project Transformation Central Texas does.

Those bonds are essential in working with children from low-income neighborhoods, as Project Transformation provides programming for after school and summer day camps. The summer day camp programs for elementary students focus on enriching the mind, body and spirit.

They’re also part of Read Fort Worth’s Summer Scholars Collaborative, a group of 12 programs at more than 60 sites serving more than 3,000 kids. Every program included a purposeful literacy component designed to help prevent “summer slide,” the loss of literacy levels between school years.

Project Transformation operated an eight-week program throughout June and July serving children entering grades 1-6 in three high-need neighborhoods in Fort Worth. More than 230 kids largely from Fort Worth ISD and Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD registered, with almost 200 regular attendees, and attended camps at Meadowbrook United Methodist Church, University United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church of Bedford.

“Our goal with participants is to combat the summer slide, utilizing one-on-one reading and comprehension strategies to help children maintain or improve their reading level,” said Rev. Beth Stuyck, Director of Operations for Project Transformation Central Texas. “We also focus on social-emotional indicators in all rotations within the program, teaching healthy and collaborative ways to process emotion.”

The kids would spend each day traveling through rotations, spanning from one-on-one reading with volunteers, arts and crafts, movement focused activities, science and more. Throughout the entirety of their day, the participants were immersed in social-emotional learning, as well as literacy-based activities.

The literacy rotations were: Bookworms (one-on-one reading with volunteers) and Reading Rockstars (group learning setting where the kids practiced reading and writing strategies based upon a book read together as a class). Kids in the summer programming also received lunch and a snack.

Project Transformation Central Texas launched in 2017 based on a model founded in Dallas in 1998. The goal was to address three unique challenges with one program:

  1. How to meet the academic, physical, social-emotional, and spiritual needs of children from low-income communities;
  2. How to provide meaningful ways for college-age young adults to explore ministry opportunities and develop as young principled leaders for the church and the world;
  3. How to help revitalize churches in underserved communities.

“Our mission is to engage young adults in purposeful leadership and ministry, support children in holistic development and connect churches with communities,” Rev. Stuyck said.

Project Transformation believes that through relationships lives and communities are transformed. Information on the summer day camps is available at www.projecttransformation.org/central-texas/our-programs or at any of the three host churches. Volunteers are also encouraged to participate.

“Spread the good word of PT,” Rev. Stuyck said, “and please bring your friends!”

Story by Art Garcia

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