When a loved one gets hit with a disease, it challenges the entire family in unimaginable ways. Camp Kesem is a big believer in lending a hand and helping cope. Founded in Stanford University in 2000, Camp Kesem has expanded to over 80 chapters in the United States. The main goal is to support children whose parents have been affected by cancer.
This is the only camp in the United States dedicated to this specific affected group of children. The camp helps the kids learn what if going on and how to better communicate with their parents, who often feel impotent and feel they cannot explain what is going on properly to their children. 98% of parents feel that Camp Kesem has had a positive effect on their children. Camp Kesem focuses their activities mostly around programming, which varies from regular camp activities such as singing and arts and crafts to programs dedicated to show kids how to express their feelings. When a parent comes down with a very serious disease that may take their life, it is critical that their child knows how to constructively let out their emotions. Camp Kesem provides that community.
The best part about this camp, is that it is run by volunteers who are ready to help each child and are eager to make a difference during their summer. One of the chapters is our very own Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York. Stony Brook University hospital doesn’t just treat the illness, they support the family as well. Providing these resources to the whole family allows for a healthy process during such a difficult time.
Camp Kesem isn’t the only example of community outreach at SUNY. Volunteerism and community service is strong and present throughout the SUNY system. Our campus communities are always looking for new ways to get involved and better their surrounding neighborhoods. Whether it is donating items for the SUNY’s Got Your Back campaign, one of the many individual campus stories from the 30 days of giving, or regular weekend activities like campus clean-ups, food drives, and more, our students and faculty are always looking for ways to better New York.
You can get involved too. Stony Brook and Camp Kesem invite you to join them at their annual charity dinner, Make the Magic on March 31st, to help us raise funds for the camp this summer, as it’s entirely free for the families who attend. Help keep this phenomenal program around for years to come.
Sarah Petrak is a student assistant with the Office of Communications and New Media for SUNY System Administration. She is a studying Public Policy at the University at Albany.