Chapel Hill Teen Brightens Summer for Refugee Kids


When Madeline Kameny worked with refugee children from Burma in Chapel Hill she was struck by the fact that they were often left with nothing to do in the summer because their families could not afford summer camps. Kameny decided to do what she could to change a situation that was limiting the lives of these children.

“These kids had nothing to do in the summer and they had no transportation,” says 16-year-old Kameny, a student in Chapel Hill who volunteered at a middle-school newcomer center in recent years and tutored students.

Kameny’s interest in refugees was sparked after a trip to Thailand in 2008 when she realized how many refugees resided in the Triangle area.

For her project to send a kid to camp, Kameny partnered with the Carolina Friends School in Durham and raised funds on Facebook through friends and family. Carolina Friends School helped Kameny advertise and raise money, and sponsored one child for a week of camp.

Kameny also spent a day soliciting donations at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill and promoted her cause through a local radio station.

She was able to send eight children to camp for a week.

“I was pleased,” she says, “especially when I had kids say how much fun they had. It was definitely worth it.”

This year, Kameny hopes to send a few more kids to camp. She has started fundraising for her 2011 scholarship program, which can again be found on Facebook at Scholarship Program for Refugees Summer Camp 2011.

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