A CHOICE for Suffolk

Published 9:29 pm Thursday, June 8, 2017

A community organization is bringing its summer camp back for a fourth year of helping children stay out trouble and teaching them to give back to the community.

The Robinson CHOICE program will begin June 19 at the Salvation Army Community Center on Bank Street from 1 to 6 p.m. Children may sign up for the program on the first day. It will continue Monday, Wednesday and Thursday each week till the end of August.

The organization was founded by Antwan Robinson Sr. with the help of his wife Magaline. CHOICE stands for Children Helping Other Individuals Cee Elevation, an acronym devised by the children during the program’s first year.

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“We designed this program to get the youth off the street, and it’s a way to reach out to them and teach them positive aspects of life,” Robinson said.

Children from ages 4 to 17 are welcome to the camp, and those ages 18 and older may choose to either attend or volunteer. The program is free of charge, with food and drinks provided.

Children who attend are encouraged to help senior citizens and others in need, whether it’s helping repair residences, mow lawns or provide food.

“We want to put the love back into the community,” Antwan said. “We want to help people that need help.”

Younger children in the program learn basics using coloring books that emphasize math and numbers, and other activities that reinforce core concepts. Older children often play basketball and talk with experts on the dangers that face youth in Suffolk.

Robinson said he speaks from his own personal experiences and mistakes in years past.

“It’s easy to get yourself in trouble, but it’s hard to get yourself out of trouble,” he said.

Donations of school supplies, food and drinks and clothing of any size are welcome to help the camp and its kids. These can be left at the Salvation Army Community Center or by calling 510-8939 to arrange a pickup.

Robinson said he hopes to get more volunteers this year.

“I believe the city of Suffolk can be a better place if we all can come together and make change happen,” he said. “We all have to have the same mind frame to change this city.”

A meeting will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday at the Salvation Army Community Center for those interested in volunteering. Call 510-8939 for more information.