The Summer Stars Program is an important component of our therapeutic treatment, designed to enhance our clients’ well-being, self-esteem and to help them become responsible citizens when they move back into their community. The Summer Stars Program includes both a Summer Work Program, Horses for Healing, and a therapeutic Day Camp. Please consider becoming a Summer Star by making a charitable contribution. Your donation of $100 provides employment skills and recreational and cultural experiences to one child for one week.

The Children’s Center of Hamden’s Summer Programs

Summer Work Program is where clients develop important work ethics and take pride in their accomplishments.

Youth who are 14 and over in both Residential Treatment and the START Programs participate in the Summer Work Program. The program is designed to help each of our youngsters learn about successful work ethics, grow and develop their self-esteem, work with others as a team, and enhance the community where they are residing. And, of course, they learn aabout earning and saaving money!! This program is a great motivator for our youth who have typically experienced significant trauma and loss in their short lives, leading them to experience a pervasive sense of hopelessness and powerlessness. Along with working on our campus, the client work groups also perform community service and work in soup kitchens, and thoroughly clean area public parks. The participants take great pride in their accomplishments and they learn skills they can take with them when they leave us.

Examples of Program Achievements

Many of the work projects occur on The Children’s Center campus and include beautification or recreation projects like brick walkways, volleyball courts, and an outdoor barbeque patio. A Zen Garden was created and is used by our children and teens for relaxation, particularly when they’re upset about something going on in theimg-group-homeir lives.  Other Summer Work Program participants are paid to perform community service. They have worked in soup kitchens, at the Free Store in New Haven and have cleaned up parks and other areas in our community.  One group plants and maintains a vegetable garden. The vegetables are harvested and included in the menu of healthy meals served to clients at The Children’s Center. Older teenagers have the opportunity to apply for positions in the Summer Camp Program as Counselors In-Training. These older adolescents, considered Young Adults, must complete applications, interview with staff and, once hired, work daily with younger children in the START Program.    The Summer Work Program is an essential part of how The Children’s Center of Hamden helps teenagers acquire the skills and self-confidence they need to become happy, productive members of their community. We need your help to extend this program to as many of our children and teenagers as possible. Please consider making a donation today.

Our Therapeutic Day Camp Program provides summer fun and builds social skills and self-esteem.

Children in the START Program, who asummer-stars2re 7-13 years of age, participate in a highly structured, therapeutic Day Camp Program. Children are assigned to one of 3 small groups and experience a variety of activities including arts and crafts, swimming, volleyball and many noncompetitive activities. The goal of the Day Camp is to improve frustration tolerance and foster positive peer relationships among the children.  Every week the children pack their back packs and go on a field trip to any one of a variety of parks and beaches throughout Connecticut. The Day Camp also allows an opportunity for our older adolescents from other programs to work as Counselors In-Training.

In addition to learning how to interact with and respect each other, the children have a chance to just be kids and have some much-needed fun in a safe, well-supervised environment.

Our Therapeutic Horses for Healing Program builds positive results.

This program involves therapeutic riding and interaction with horses to provide an intensive and integrative treatment experience for participating youth. An equine specialist and equine partner help the youth learn basic riding skills and directly provide care and upkeep to the horses and the stables where they reside. Overwhelmingly, psychological research in the area of “animal-assisted” therapy and healing has demonstrated an enormous benefit from this experience. As youth learn to handle and earn the affection of the horse they are assigned to, issues relating to self -esteem, anxiety and depression, trust and relationships are subtly and effectively addressed with positive results.

Donate with a check sent directly to The Children’s Center of Hamden. Click to open a Donation Form. You can also make a donation with a credit or debit card through PayPal. (You do not have to be registered with PayPal to send a donation.) If you choose this option please contact Diane Bell Surprenant at 203-248-2116, ext.266 or email to let her know that your donation should be applied to this event. If you have questions or would like more information please contact Diane Bell Surprenant at 203-248-2116, ext. 266 or email. For a printable PDF brochure of this program click on The Summer Stars Program. To learn more about our other fundraising events please visit our Fundraising Events page.