JENSEN BEACH — The summer can be a magical time for kids! Enjoying family outings and special adventures is a highlight for most children. Thanks to the generosity of the community and dedication of volunteers and staff, the children residing at the Hibiscus Children’s Shelter in Jensen Beach are enjoying the same wonderful opportunities.
“Camp Hibiscus” is a 10-week program that provides recreational and educational outings for abused children. Hibiscus provides safety, shelter and counseling, but it also knows that summer camp activities are a critical component to helping children heal and have a sense of normalcy in their young lives.
Hibiscus volunteers are some of the most committed and caring individuals. Margarita Dickinson helped to plan the camp outings and did a great job in finding special adventures for the children while working with local businesses on donations.
“When I make calls to plan activities for the kids, I envision the sense of curiosity and amazement of discovery beaming from their eyes, like I see it in my 8-year-old niece … it puts a smile on my face that I hope comes through and connects with those that believe that every child’s innocence and sense of hope is precious,” Dickenson said.
Some of these wonderful outings include the Manatee Observation and Education Center, which opened during non-business hours to provide a special tour and an outstanding barbecue lunch. The children also enjoyed visiting the Equine Rescue and Adoption Foundation, where like the Manatee Center, they learned about treating animals with respect and kindness.
Club Med rolled out the red carpet for the children as they warmly welcomed them for a fun day of swimming and all-you-can-eat buffet! Alan Jenkinson, executive director of U.S. Sailing Center, has generously provided five children with a four-week summer sailing experience. The Sailing Center has been a wonderful partner over the years and many of the children now have special memories that will last a lifetime!
University of Florida IFAS Extension 4-H Club have partnered with Hibiscus to provide education for the children during the summer and throughout the school year. They are learning about wildlife, agriculture, food and nutrition, budgeting and more. Other exciting adventures include Piper Aircraft, Bee Keeper’s Association, St. Lucie Mets, Norton Museum of Art, Blowing Rocks Preserve, House of Refuge, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Museum, Navy Seal Museum and Morikami Museum.
Volunteer Emily Perretta has been a wonderful chaperone and has helped the children with homework. Mary Garner is a summer tutor who is focusing on helping two young children, ages 6 and 7, who are struggling with reading. She works with the children twice weekly and they are already improving their reading comprehension and learning familiar words.
Hibiscus is deeply grateful to the summer camp volunteers, staff, supporters, local businesses and organizations who are providing memorable experiences for the children and helping them to feel special. For more information about services and volunteer opportunities, please visit: HibiscusChildrensCenter.org.