AME Youth Creates Camp for Homeless Children in Maryland

A dozen homeless children ended their summer with renewed motivation and purpose after a pep talk by the Rev. Dr. Baron D. Young, pastor of St. James AME Church-Green Street in Havre de Grace, during the last day of Camp Happy, a free summer enrichment camp created by his member, Grace E. G. Callwood, age 12. Callwood is the founder of the We Cancerve Movement, Inc., a nonprofit organization that since its founding in 2012 has brought happiness to more than 4,000 homeless, sick, and foster children; has given more than $9,000 in cash grants and more than $25,000 in in-kind products. She is a 2017 Nickelodeon HALO Award Honoree. “Camp Happy was created to give homeless children an opportunity to enjoy summer camp without their families worrying about costs and to help provide them bridge work over the summer,” said Callwood, who created the camp in 2015 at age 10.

Harford Family House is the only transitional housing program in Harford County that can house a father, mother, and children. Currently, there are more than 30 children living with their families in the program. The program provides career counseling, family budgeting, and other assistance to help families establish independence. Callwood is the first and only child member of Harford Family House’s Board of Directors.

The camp lasts four weeks from July-August and is also held at Anna’s House, a transitional housing program for homeless women and children. Children participate in field trips to local attractions including estuaries, movie theaters, miniature golf facilities, and this year, the Baltimore Aquarium. Guests to Camp Happy 2017 included the Harlem Globetrotters, the Washington Wizards, Brick Bodies, a fitness center, research scientists from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, and local first responders. The Rev. Young and his wife, Lisa Wilson Young, participated in the last day of the camp when the youth made carnival-like games from cardboard boxes for chances to win prizes, which included new toys, games, and sports equipment.

Callwood is a member of St. James’ liturgical dance ministry and is the daughter of Tanya J. G. and Theodore Ellis, Jr. She is a rising seventh grader, plays trumpet in the school band, and excels in advanced math and reading. For more information on We Cancerve, visit www.wecancerve.org.

 

 

Camp Happy Photo: (L to R) Lisa Wilson Young; ABC2 Anchor Kelly Swoope; Grace Callwood; Rev. Dr. Baron D. Young; Theodore Ellis, Jr.

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