The Link Stryjewski Foundation to match donations for underprivileged children

New Orleans, LouisianaThe Link Stryjewski Foundation is spearheading a fundraising initiative to “Send a Kid to Camp this Summer.” Co-Founders of the Link Stryjewski Foundation, Chef Donald Link and Chef Stephen Stryjewski, will match funds raised during this drive, to cover the cost of summer camp for up to 50 children for one week at Kingsley House or the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP). The hard costs for each camp is approximately $300 per child per week. “The Link Stryjewski Foundation was created to provide support to organizations that directly work to end the cycle of violence and poverty, as well as the lack of education for the young people of New Orleans,” states Link. “Kingsley House and the YEP are community leaders in that fight, so we want to do our part to support them and their missions.” To make a donation to the “Send a Kid to Camp this Summer” initiative, visit Donations are tax deductible.

According to research conducted by the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust, youth require structured, participatory and strength-based activities to support their development and help them to make healthy choices and abstain from delinquent behaviors. To deter youth from being pulled into anti-social behaviors they need programming that provides opportunities, supports and services to meet their basic physical, emotional and social needs; and will keep them from seeking support from harmful sources. An essential principle to youth development is that youth are involved in opportunities, services and supports with caring adults who will challenge them to reach their full potential and who will provide support to guarantee their success. Kingsley House and The Youth Empowerment Project have been constant sources of such support and resources for many young people in this community. 

Kingsley House Summer Camp provides safe, structured, out of school programming for children ages 5-12. The full day camp includes indoor and outdoor sports and recreation, drama, arts and crafts, swimming, individual and group mental health counseling, academic enrichment (with a special focus on math and reading), drug and violence prevention education and weekly field trips. Kingsley House has provided summer camp for the residents of Orleans Parish for over 50 years; it accommodates 200 campers and is recognized as a premiere camp within this parish. “We have partnered with Chefs Link and Stryjewski for many years, and their commitment to Kingsley House and the children of this community is outstanding,” states Keith Liederman, Kingsley House Chief Executive Officer. “The ‘Send a Kid to Camp’ fundraising drive offers much needed support for our campers.”

The Youth Empowerment Project’s 2016 Summer Camp provides free educational and enrichment programming to at-risk New Orleans youth ages 7-13. Participants receive two meals daily, and take part in field trips, swimming lessons, enrichment classes and age-appropriate groups discussions on subjects such as anger management, bullying and self-esteem. In addition, YEP’s campers take part in daily educational learning activities that ensure they are prepared to begin a new academic year in the fall and do not lose the academic gains that they made during the preceding school year. The camp program transitions into the afterschool program, as both programs serve the same general population. “Summer camp programs are critical to ensuring that at-risk youth begin the academic school year prepared, while also keeping youth engaged in enrichment programming that contributes to their personal growth” states Melissa Sawyer, YEP Executive Director. “We are thankful for the generous assistance from the Link Stryjewski Foundation in helping to bring more children to our Center.”