“Sowing Seeds of Success in our Community’s Children Since 2007”
Dear “Good Neighbor”:
A camper attended SML Good Neighbors’ summer enrichment day camp ten years ago as a second grader. This fall, ten years later, we were honored to hear her share her story with us. She told us that she struggled with reading and speech as a young child when she started attending camp. She described how her literacy skills grew through working with the Good Neighbors’ reading buddies and that the experience also inspired a love for literacy. She commented that not only does Good Neighbors provide summer enrichment opportunities and inspire a love for literature but “...it teaches them (campers) the fundamental values of the community and gives them the chance to succeed at life.” She kept the book her reading buddy gave to her with the original sticky note from her reading buddy still inside the book, which read “From Ms. Kennedy. You are a super reader. Enjoy this book and have a great summer.” Our former camper said this reading buddy and the experience changed her life. She is now a senior at Franklin County High School and the Roanoke Valley Governor's School. She returned to Good Neighbors camp again this summer, but this time as a reading buddy instead of a camper. This young woman is the why of what we do at SML Good Neighbors.
In my letter sent in November of 2020, I mentioned that we hoped to return to in-person programming in 2021, and we did. With your support, SML Good Neighbors provided 170 hours of in-person educational and enrichment programming to students. We served 250 students in rising 1st through 12th grades from 19 different schools. Over 7,800 meals were provided to these students as well as over 2,000 books. Every camper, intern and volunteer has a story like the one above to share about their experience with SML Good Neighbors. The impact of the programs goes further than I think any of us ever imagined. Many of our first campers are now in college. This past summer we even had our very first experience of having a former camper become an intern at our programs. Our hearts are full.
As we prepare to enter our 15th year of service to the community, I want to personally thank you for your support in fulfilling our mission. I hope that you will consider continuing to support the good work by making a contribution to SML Good Neighbors. For each child we serve, we incur a cost of about $500. Your gift will help to ensure that the children in our community are given an equitable chance to learn, grow, be inspired and succeed. Thank you for being good neighbors and giving the gift of hope to our future leaders.