For many children in Appalachia, the summer break is not a fun-filled vacation with trips to Disneyland and hanging out with friends at the local swimming pool every day.

For too many, it’s weeks of not getting the nutritious meals they receive when school is in session, and boredom with nothing to do on the long summer days, and perhaps even loneliness and isolation in their rural home with no opportunity to play with school friends.

But thanks to Americans Helping Americans® partners in Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee and elsewhere there were hundreds of children for whom this summer was a different story.

These children attended free summer camps held by our partners, and supported by Americans Helping Americans®, so they didn’t have to worry about when their next meal would be, or how they would occupy their time all day.

They played educational games (having fun and learning without even realizing it) so that what they learned in the classroom last spring would not be forgotten by the time fall rolls around. They went on field trips to places they would never be able to visit without the camps.

But perhaps most importantly, they made new friends, learned from mentors and role models that there are adults who care deeply about their well-being, and forged memories that will last a lifetime.