Zion’s Community House served 70 Pre-K- 12th grade students during its summer enrichment program.
ZCH is a philanthropic entity of Holy Zion Ministries of Newnan. Bishop Cecil Newton pastors the church and is the father of Cam Newton, NFL free agent. Newton is from Atlanta and his foundation, The Cam Newton Foundation, also collaborates often with ZCH.
Luther Day, director of ZCH, said the program focuses on enrichment, remediation, and of course academics. ZCH has hosted the camp since 2017.
“We help the students with math, ELA, science, spanish, computers, recreation time, and art,” Day said. “We also emphasize life skills to assist with the social aspect of the students.”
Being safe and promoting safety is also part of the program, which includes nine staff members, including one retired principal from Coweta County schools, several teachers from Fulton County and three former ZCH college students.
“We also had a licensed counselor, Mr. Derrick Lewis, assisting with instilling life skills into our middle school campers,” Day said.
Day said that summer enrichment was not all work and no play. Campers had “Fun Fridays” which included field trips to the pool, the park, skating, library, Civil Rights Museums, etc.
Day said one challenge was not having enough space for all the activities the camp initially planned.
ZCH and Holy Zion Ministries, located on Temple Avenue in Newnan, is currently undergoing renovations, which are expected to be completed sometime next year.
“Shoutout to Evans Middle School for allowing us to utilize their gym,” Day said.
Day said the camp was even to feed all 70 students with healthy meals.
The past week was the last week of enrichment and campers had an end of the year celebration.
A formal service was also held at Evans Middle School, Sunday, July 24 during the Holy Zion Ministries service. Students participated in the program by reading different passages.
Newton was also in attendance and gave students a motivational talk, along with his father Cecil. The event culminated with brunch. ZCH also hosted a free community event and backpack giveaway that day from 2 until 6 p.m.
Coweta resident Jemeka Beadles said she and her seventh and third grader have been participating in summer enrichment since summer 2019.
“ Zion Community House has become our family,” Beadles said. “I am a nurse so I had to have child care for at the time, my six and nine- year-old. I researched and Zion House was so affordable for a single parent. We are into year 3, and my kids will have a big advantage when they return to school because of the eight weeks at ZCH. They have continued ELA and math and in addition to that, they have gone on lots of fun and educational field trips.”
According to The American Camp Association (ACA) the average cost of summer camp in the U.S. is around $178.49 a day, and for sleep-away camp, it's $448.53.
These numbers are a huge increase from last year, when summer camp cost an average of $76 per day, and sleep-away camp set you back $172 per day, according to the ACA. This means, ZCH is priced below average at $ 75 weekly for one child, $125 for two children weekly, and $150 weekly for three children.
Day said it is rewarding to see the growth of the students over the summer, both academically and socially.
“They will be 100 percent prepared for the 2022-2023 academic school year,” Day said.
ZCH is currently accepting applications for its after school program, which will begin on Aug. 8. There is a $15 registration fee per family. One child is $45 weekly, two children are $80 weekly, three children are $110 weekly and four children are $140 weekly.