Camp aims to help kids with learning, behavior

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Vicksburg mother has taken her child’s learning disability and turned it into an opportunity to help other kids.

To enroll

The camp will be from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday through July 10. Cost is $60 per child per week. Call Kimberly Stevens at 601-218-6630 or 601-218-7735.

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Kimberly Stevens, a certified child-care director and teacher in training, spent this past week running an independent summer camp for students with behavioral and learning disabilities, particularly those with attention and hyperactivity disorders. The camp, which kicked off Monday and will wrap up July 10, focuses on math and reading and offers recreation via field trips. Fifteen attended this week’s session.

“For children with ADD, you want to bring the withdrawal out of them and show them different things,” said Stevens. “For children with disabilities, they need so much more attention.”

The camp runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at Mercy Seat Baptist Church on Dos Casas Lane. Cost is $60 a week per child, but the fee can be waived if parents volunteer to help with the camp. Enrollment is ongoing.

“The camp is not to gain money; it’s about our children having something to do,” said Stevens.

This past week, students learned about proper hygiene and took in some sights downtown. Other field trips will include the Vicksburg National Military Park and the Old Court House Museum. Outdoor physical education will also be conducted.

Alongside Stevens are a behavioral specialist, two volunteer assistants and three others with backgrounds in education, health and counseling. Before enrolling in the camp, each child is assessed by behavioral specialist Michelle Johnson, who has worked in the Vicksburg Warren School District for about five years and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Students in the camp have been medically diagnosed with a behavioral problem.

“If a child is in need of an assessment or counseling, I’ll be available to help,” she said.

In addition to student programs, the camp offers parenting classes — one led by Monica Cannon, a parenting coordinator for Parents for Public Schools of Jackson; another for parents of special-needs children by Wilma Taylor and Pam Dollar, both of the advocacy group Mississippi Parent Teacher Information Center of Jackson.

“In order to be positive with kids, you have to be positive with yourself,” said Taylor, who also has a son with learning disabilities. Her son is a rising mechanical engineering sophomore at Tuskegee University.

All instructors are volunteers who will donate their time and their areas of expertise.


Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at