Schools and Libraries
July 25, 2013
After watching her students struggle in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Long Beach ESL teacher Sue Gamez decided to try to help ease their stress by finding a way to send them to summer camp.
“I thought of the impact all of this post-Sandy upheaval was having on my students and wished that, for just a little while, they could get away and not have to deal with the storm’s effect,” said Ms. Gamez. “I thought that would be great for their morale.”
Through a generous grant from the Susser Family Trust and The JCC of Oceanside, Ms. Gamez was able to make this dream come true for 11 of her students. Maria Benitez, Anthony Cafaro, Iyanna Caro Rodriguez, Armani Cisneros Rios, Gloria Corea, Edgar Flores, Valerie Ganan, Daniela Halavach, Steven Heran, Maria Herrera and Iveth Ruiz
were able to attend summer camp for two weeks at Camp Friedberg, a Friedberg JCC program in Wheatley Heights.
Among their many activities, the campers enjoyed trips to Hershey Park, the Amazing Corn Maize in Lancaster, the Coco Key Water Park and the Franklin Institute Science Museum. Some of the children were chosen to attend the camp based on the hardships and financial needs they faced in the wake of the storm. One student lived with her family in a shelter for 15 days. With no place else to go and their home without electricity and water, they made the best of it. Another student had to move out of his home in Long Beach and relocate to another town while his house was being reconstructed, commuting over an hour to school every day.
“The experience of being together at a camp demonstrated to these children, their parents and the Long Beach community that something positive can come out of all of the hardships that have been endured this year,” said Ms. Gamez.