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ALAS Starts El Jardin Summer Camp for K-8th Graders at Cunha Middle School Community Hub in Half Moo

Summer camp youth counselors from community and children camp participants get access to new socialization and educational opportunities


Half Moon Bay, CA — July 17, 2023 — Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (ALAS) is hosting the El Jardin Summer Camp for K-8th grade children from the Half Moon Bay community. This three-week summer camp, running from July 10-28, is offered free of charge to working families. El Jardin Summer Camp provides a safe and enriching environment for children to engage in cultural arts, educational programming, and activities to promote physical well-being. ALAS Summer Camp is led by Arts Director, Zenon Barron.


One of the sponsors for the summer youth camp came from the California Arts Council. ALAS has hired 15 local youth as camp counselors to provide them with opportunities to lead and learn about child development, elementary education, and recreational programming. While youth camp counselors are gaining valuable employment experience, the children camp participants are encountering valuable socialization opportunities that they may have missed in the last few years with the COVID pandemic and the recent devastating and disrupting floods.


The American Camp Association said that the average cost per day for day camp for a single child is $178.49. This cost puts summer camp out of reach for many working families. Free day camp allows children who might not get to experience camp the opportunity to get out with their peers and be exposed to new socialization and educational opportunities. Some farmworkers bring their children to the fields during the summer months, especially if they don’t have family that live close by. El Jardin Summer Camp ensures that children in the Half Moon Bay community have a safe, joyful, and enriching program to attend.


“We believe that our youth should have equity, learning and summer fun like many other children who come from families that are able to pay for expensive camps,” said Dr. Belinda Hernandez Arriaga, Executive Director of ALAS. “We started this as a grassroots effort together with University of San Francisco Faculty during COVID to go out to the fields and take books and programs to them in the summer during shelter in place. We worked outside and ensured they were not alone. Now three years later, we are at Cunha Middle School, Cabrillo Unified School District coming together to make this free camp happen with lots of joy, arts, culture and education. Our children cannot be forgotten during one of the most important times of their lives, summer is for creating memories.”


ALAS is providing culturally competent programming for the children attending El Jardin Summer Camp. The El Jardin Summer Camp program is centered on using the arts as the main component of the curriculum. ALAS believes that the arts help to increase sensory stimulation, is a bridge for healing trauma, increasing brain stimulation/healing and also increases creativity and academic success. ALAS has also partnered with community partners of University of San Francisco, and Notre Dame de Namur to provide educational engagement. Academic enrichment includes reading/writing, math, science, and social studies.


“We’re thrilled to be able to offer a summer camp experience for K-8th grade students, many of whom have never had the opportunity to attend camp or a summer enrichment program. El Jardin Summer Camp is not only providing valuable programming for younger children, it’s also providing leadership and job experience for more mature youth leaders in the community,” continued Dr. Hernandez Arriaga.


About Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (ALAS): ALASis a nonprofit, 501c3, based in Half Moon Bay, California that offers free programs of cultural arts, mental health, education, basic needs and social justice programs for Latino families, essential workers, and farmworkers of the Coastside. The vision of the organization was born from the desire to help children and their families to feel proud of their identity and culture and amplify their voices. For more information, please visit: www.alasdreams.com.

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