Creative Camp ‘Essential’ for South Shore Children

Creative Camp, the eight-week summer arts program, returned on June 23 to Zakat Foundation of America Community Center-Chicago (Zakat Foundation of AmericaCCC) in the South Shore neighborhood.


“What we are offering goes beyond being just a summer camp,” Zakat Foundation of AmericaCCC Director, Laila Muhammad said. “We give the children an arts experience that supports their self-esteem and social-emotional development, but we also feed them breakfast and lunch, and we get to know them so that they have a safe place to come to if they need help at any time, not just in the summer.”

The camp asks for a small suggested donation from families that can afford it, but offers full scholarships to many children. This summer’s campers will delve into a variety of disciplines including performing, visual, fine and literary arts as well as cooking and textile arts.


“This program, like most others we offer, feeds the body, mind and soul,” Ms. Muhammad said. “The children are off the street in a safe environment, and that is so important.”

Chris Matusek, one of the teachers for Creative Camp 2013, said the camp makes a difference that can change the whole neighborhood.

“Studies have shown again and again that kids who have an art or music class to go to do better in school and get in trouble less,” Matusek said. “Making art helps kids who have experienced violence to heal and feel okay again. It is really essential for low-income neighborhoods to have programs like Creative Camp.”

For more information about Creative Camp, please email [email protected]. To support programming that brightens the lives and futures of low-income children, please donate today.