Summer of 2018 was a phenomenal success at the Davis Center in Ward 4, Manor Park neighborhood in Northwest Washington, DC. We served 35 girls ages 5-13 and mentored 9 youth from the Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). All of our lives were enriched as we gathered for the 7th year of Arts for Our Children’s, iThings 2 Collard Greens Summer Camp for Girls where Girl Power is celebrated.

Some highlights of 2018:

A former camper, Cecelia Whettstone, who became a SYEP and is now a student at Oberlin college taught poetry to our youngest girls ages 5-9.

3 of our former counselors – Mikaya Childs, Celestine Sawyer, J’yana Hughes and Kai Burke and Zakiyya Emerson, former campers and now counselors – returned this year to work with the girls. The leadership these young women demonstrated with their respective groups was exceptional. We are clear through our observation of these youth that iThings is making a difference.

1 of our male counselors, Terrence Richburg, a music student at North Carolina A&T, supported the girls with voice instruction.

Over 30% of our campers returned from the previous summer. Although we did not receive the highly competitive United Way Out of School Time summer grant, families were able to raise funds through their communities and extended families to support the girls having the iThings experience.

Ragbaby Exchange owner, Sherry Lumpkins, donated a day of dollmaking where the girls designed, dressed and placed personal affirmations and trinkets within the belly of their rag dolls.

Due to lack of funding, our primary teaching staff volunteered their time and energy to make camp happen. We give a major shout out to:

Beatrice Davis-Williams – Executive Director, Arts for Our Children, Inc. & Etiquette Instructor
Cheryl Shumake – Camp Director
Free Benjamin – Music Instructor
Dine Watson – Poetry Instructor
Joyce Pegues – Knitting Instructor
Imani Bowman – Hip/Hop & Ballet Instructor
Valencia Barclift – African Dance Instructor
Rose Swain, Sewing Arts & Crafts Instructor
Frances Coles – Sewing Instructor
Senghor Baye – Food Handler, Facilities Management
Princess Thompson – Yoga Instructor
Kathy English Holt – the Glue

We began a new partnership with Shalom Community Church on Peabody Street, NW where we hosted our closing program to a packed audience of family and friends. The girls demonstrated their dance and yoga, sang their music, recited their poetry and displayed their knitting, sewing and arts and crafts.

As we begin the process of preparing for Summer 2019, it is nice to reflect on our continued ability to serve girls in our community. During this year of the women, we continue to be obedient to the call of our ancestral shero and inspiration, Nannie Helen Burroughs. As we return her to relevance in the District of Columbia, we know that she and God are taking care of us. May her work through iThings 2 Collard Greens continue to inspire others.