Earlier this year, with summer fast approaching, the team at LSI’s Beloit Residential Treatment Center in Ames put their heads together to create more opportunities for the children on campus to enjoy summer, relax, and just be kids.
“The kids at Beloit have often faced abuse or neglect, or grapple with difficult physical or mental challenges,” says Greg Herdman, Residential Manager at Beloit. “Sometimes, it’s hard for them to just be kids. We wanted to develop more programming for them to stay active this summer, interact with their peers and community members off-campus, and get to experience the fun and freedom other kids experience over the summer.”
Some of this summer’s highlights included visiting the Science Center of Iowa and attending an Iowa Cubs baseball game in Des Moines, and participating in the Des Moines Arts Festival, where they made “intention sticks” at the LSI-hosted booth.
Back in Ames, several kids regularly went swimming at the local pool and participated in arts and crafts classes and exercise groups on campus. A few of the children were also able to attend Riverside Bible Camp, where they made new friends and learned to ride horses through the Ride with the King program.
Cassie, an LSI caseworker at Beloit, says the summer programming made a significant impact for several kids on campus.
One young child was often struggling to listen, and he regularly argued with other children. Through his regular visits with Cassie, they set a goal for him to improve his social skills and build positive relationships with his peers. He worked hard to stay on his best behavior and as a reward, he was able to participate in every activity this summer.
“He sees these activities as a positive, something he can be rewarded with when he makes good choices,” Cassie says. “He’s realizing that his good behaviors allow him to experience all these things and feel happier and healthier in the long-run.”