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To put kids on the path to success by investing in their physical health and wellbeing, and ensuring they have the opportunities they need to thrive..
All parents want to provide social and recreational opportunities to their children, however some families face more barriers than others. Children and youth in low-income families and children with special needs, do not have equal access to summer camp. Research shows that attending summer camp has a positive impact on children and can produce long-term benefits such as increased self-esteem, confidence, independence, and improved social and leadership skills. We also know that children are not getting enough physical activity. Providing a camp experience for children who may not otherwise be able to attend will help to establish healthy lifestyle habits which in turn will save money in future health care costs.
United Way London & Middlesex invests in programs that engage children and youth in low-income families or with special needs to be physically active and socially connected. Through our investment in four inclusive camping programs we are able to break through social and physical barriers and ensure that all children have the opportunity to participate. In 2014 we provided $145,000 in funding to four agencies, enabling 885 children from London & Middlesex to attend summer camp programs.
In London, both the number and proportion of children and youth living in poverty is increasing despite a decline in the child population. Research shows that during the summer, students in low-income families can lose more than two months’ worth of math and reading skills, making them fall behind. Over 25% of London’s children and youth are overweight or obese. To prevent weight and health issues later in life, our children and youth need a healthy foundation built on nutritious foods and physical activity.