"I learned how incredibly easy it is to make a loving difference in someone's life."
Realizing that the children in a nearby trailer park had virtually no means to participate in summer camp activities, Becky Tai, 42, of Cumming, GA, decided to bring summer camp to them.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Becky: This summer, I
had the dynamic and fulfilling experience of "bringing camp" to a
mostly Hispanic trailer park community near my home. I met the children
involved through a mentoring program at my children's elementary
What is the name and location of the organization?
Becky: The location
was the children's neighborhood because most of the families do not
have transportation for unnecessary traveling. The neighborhood is
called Homesteaders Trailer Community in Cumming, GA. I organized the
fun, and my fellow church members helped fulfill my vision!
Tell us about the project, especially who benefited from this work.
Becky: The project was
to provide fun day camp experiences, including water games, relay
races, art and dance activities, as well as practice in school skills
such as math facts and reading. All elementary school-aged children
were invited, but many moms and toddlers also attended. Camp Homestead
was from 1:00 to 3:00 every day for three weeks in June. About 30
children attended each day.
What inspired you to get involved?
Becky: My desire to do something "bigger
than myself and my own family". Also, my relationship with my
daughter's classmate, Abraham Garcia, and his mother.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
Becky: I signed up for
the school mentoring program and requested Abraham as my "buddy". I knew from
my daughter's comments that he had just arrived from Mexico and was
having trouble adjusting to school. Through my friendship with his mom,
I realized there was so much more I could do by using the skills and
resources I already possessed.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Becky: Having an idea,
dreaming big, deciding it was achievable, going for it, and seeing it
come to fruition through my organization and the PARTICIPATION of many
What is/was the hardest part?
Becky: Wanting to do more. Being dependent on good weather because it was all outside; we had no facility.
What was the biggest surprise?
Becky: How truly easy
it was to pull off. How exciting it was to see that when we knocked on
doors and said, “Come have some fun,” LOTS OF KIDS CAME. The kids were
so enthusiastic and appreciative. I never heard a complaint that
something wasn't fun or someone was bored (like I would from kids in my
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed?
Becky: I just learned
how incredibly easy it is to make a loving difference in someone's
life. I have a resolve to do something that has an even bigger impact.
I want to help prepare the preschoolers to enter school more prepared.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Becky: GO FOR IT! Don't let negative comments hold you back!! Solicit help, but make a plan that isn't too dependent on others.
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