ETSS To Provide Summer Camp Programming At Emerald Glen
Highly-praised local non-profit Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS) has joined the list of Homeport summer camp providers, bringing with it a distinguished track record of serving New American communities.
Beginning the second week of June, ETSS will be providing summer camp programming at Homeport’s Emerald Glen apartment. The Southwest Columbus community is overwhelmingly Somali.
“ETSS provides culturally sensitive programming, which includes an interpreter to not only work with the youth but also to work directly with their families,” said Alex Romstedt, Homeport’s Director of Resident Services.
“The Presence of ETSS will help bridge the cultural gap that has been lacking in our Emerald Glen Community,” said Homeport Service Coordinator Mark Childs.
“Both adult and youth residents have shown excitement about having someone available that speaks their language and understand their customs and beliefs,” said Childs. “In just over an hour (on June 5) we had unprecedented 30 plus children enrolled for camp at Emerald.”
With programs and services that encourage community integration, sustained employment, education, health, and strong families, ETSS has served clients from over 40 countries, the majority from Asia, The Middle East, and Africa.
Saynab Yusuf, ETSS Site Coordinator at Emerald Glen, was born and raised in the United States but speaks Somali fluently. She said her background could be very helpful.
“It is an advantage. People are more comfortable with people they know or think they know,” Yusuf said.
Parents registering their children at Emerald communicated in both Somali or English, but said the key for them was having a program for their children to learn and to get out of the house over the summer.
Abdulaziz Muburak, a Somali immigrant, enrolled four of his six children, ages 10, 9, 7 and 5.
“They would go crazy” if the camp was not available, Muburak said. “It’s hard to keep the children inside the house all day.”
The summer program partnership with ETSS is possible thanks to a grant from Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH). OCCH is also funding summer camp opportunities at Homeport’s Bending Brooking and George’s Creek communities.