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This month, Alternatives For Girls’ Rise N’ Shine summer camp began! The free, six-week summer camp gives girls living in southwest Detroit a safe space to learn new things, improve their reading skills, and make friends! For three days each week, the campers spend the day participating in fun, educational workshops. This summer, workshops include: gardening, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), swimming, cooking, and more.
What’s in my ‘hood?
New to Rise N’ Shine this summer is “What’s in my ‘hood?” The workshop focuses on the literacy opportunities available to the girls in their communities. The goals of the workshop are to get the girls more involved in literacy, to make reading fun, and allow them to be creative along the way.
To get familiar with their neighborhoods, the group did community mapping to find school libraries, local book stores, and public libraries near them. Once they found the literacy options, they took field trips to visit the locations and get familiar with them. They have also completed creative writing exercises to develop their writing skills!
Making an Impact
During the third week of the workshop, the group visited Sit On It Detroit. The organization creates benches out of reclaimed wood for bus stops throughout the city. The girls produced their own Alternatives For Girls bench that now sits outside of AFG!
The bench the girls created includes a shelf under the seat, which will be used as a free library. Free libraries allow people to make their own libraries and promote reading in their neighborhoods. Typically in a public area, the libraries are housed in benches or shelves. Those in the community can borrow and return books to the library at their leisure. “The project [with Sit On It Detroit] was completed so that the youth could see the work behind producing a library bench and how libraries don’t have to always be inside of a building,” Rita, an AFG intern from Wayne State University and one of the leaders of the workshop, explains.
“What’s in my ‘hood?” has allowed the girls to be more engaged in reading and to see the fun it brings. Rita hopes that after the summer is over, the girls will leave with the desire to continue to promote literacy wherever they go, “If they see a need, they have the strength, skills, and knowledge to do something about it.”