On July 28, the Renfrew County Family and Children’s Services held a fundraising barbecue for their Summer Smiles Campaign. The event was supported by Team Leader Steve West, Supervisor Mike Delton, Executive Director Arijana Haramancic, Chair of the Board of Directors Cindy Simpson, Director of Service Suzanne Elliott, and Grillmaster Paul Elliot. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

FCS Summer Smiles Campaign

Community News

By: Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2016

Though there are a limited number of days left of summer break, the Renfrew County Family and Children’s Services (FCS) Summer Smiles Campaign is raising funds to ensure that deserving area children have a summer camp experience.

Already a little over 200 kids have experienced the joys of camp in June and July with their help, and FCS is looking to surpass that number to send a total of 250 kids to camp. “We have never gone over 200, and this year we have an opportunity to go over because of great support,” said FCS Executive Director Arijana Haramancic. It costs approximately $300 per child and they have turned to the community to help fundraise towards this goal.

To help accomplish this, FCS hosted a barbecue on July 28 at their Pembroke location. Throughout the day, volunteers served countless barbecued treats; this single day event raised more than $900 for the the Darlene Aikens Summer Camp Fund. According to organizers, more donations are coming in from various sources. They’ve also invited local businesses to follow suit and hold their own charitable event, which has helped increase the fundraising tally.

Haramancic is confident they will reach their intended goal. “We have a wonderful community and they are very generous,” she said. “... I also think they remember when they were children and the benefits of attending camp.”

Cindy Simpson, chair of the FCS Board of Directors, agreed. “The public has been incredibly supportive of our endeavours,” she noted. One out of nine children in Renfrew County lives in poverty, and many of them grow up without the magic and wonder of summer camp.

Studies show that camp creates a sense of camaraderie and socialization, promotes mental and physical well-being, raises self-esteem and confidence and is just plain fun - positive outcomes that are especially important for children in need or at risk.

The children who benefit from this campaign can choose a camp that is tailored to their interests, where they spend about a week.

To donate money towards the campaign, please visit their GoFundme page at www.gofundme.com/2dptektg. For more information on FCS and its various campaigns, please visit www.fcsrenfrew.on.ca.