CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When young Charlie first started the Carnegie Hall Kids' College summer arts and science camp three years ago, staff expended extra energy to cope with his erratic, disruptive behavior.
Charlie, a foster child who spent most of his life shuffling from home to home, attended the two-week Lewisburg camp on a scholarship. He would not have had the opportunity to build LEGO robots, cook, dance, act and paint without help from various philanthropic organizations.
Since then, the changes in Charlie have been noticeable, Kid's College Development Director Cindy Lavender-Bowe said.
"He smiles. He participates. He spends far less time in the director's office," she said. "He loves drawing comics. He's legitimately good at it."
Carnegie Hall is a regional not-for-profit arts and education center based out of the historic Greek Revival Building on 105 Church St. in Lewisburg, and serves children in the Greenbrier Valley.
The camp, which runs July 9-13 and again on July 16-20, provides an opportunity for children to expand their learning through the arts and sciences.
The Kids' College day consists of two parts. Students in fourth-grade through seventh-grade can register for the morning session and/or the afternoon session. Students in kindergarten through third-grade can register for the morning session, which has three 60-minute classes, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The classes cover a plethora of subjects, including ink drawing, crafts, robotics and global positioning systems, pottery, music, and performance art.
Lavender-Bowe said that 24 percent of children in Greenbrier County live below the poverty line and 54 percent are eligible for free or reduced school meals.
Of the 200 children that attend the camp every year, organizers hope to take in 40 low-income children on 20 full scholarships and 20 partial scholarships. A full scholarship costs $125.
"The children who attend on scholarship are the children whose lives will be most impacted by their experiences at Kids' College," Lavender-Bowe said. "It is perhaps most important that children who cannot afford arts experiences get access to the arts."
A child has never been denied participation due to a lack of resources, according to camp organizers. Carnegie Hall has always provided scholarships, even when requests have exceeded the funds provided.
For more information on the camp, please contact Cindy Lavender-Bowe at 304-675-7971, or b...@carnegiehallwv.org.
Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.