NEWTON GROVE — For a few weeks in the summer, Glenn Faison enjoyed watching youth have new educational experiences.
Now in its third year, the UPLIFT Summer Academy recently wrapped up another successful summer. Some of the activities included sessions for English Language Arts, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), fitness and culinary arts. Close to 70 youth took advantage of opportunities at the camp.
“It’s about academics, and that’s the core,” said Faison, program leader. “But it teaches some of these young people like skills and social skills.”
Held at Hobbton Middle School, the 21st Century Afterschool Program provides academic activities throughout the school year. UPLIFT stands for “Using Positive Lessons to Improve our Future Tomorrows” and is operated through Project Outreach, which was formed in the late 1990s as a nonprofit organization. The purpose is to provide academic and life skills enrichment. Faison served as the executive director.
In addition to serving Sampson County students, Faison said the camp received participation from other areas such as Wake, Duplin, Johnston and Harnett counties. This allowed the participants to meet other youth from different age groups.
“We have great diversity and they’ve made friends of different backgrounds and that has been great,” he said.
Destiny Faison, a Clinton High School senior, was one of many mentors assisting with the program. Some of the subjects included language arts, math and science. It’s her third year assisting people at the camp. Destiny said the children look forward to coming back each year.
“I think it’s important becuase it gives children opportunities such as field trips,” she said. “A lot of kids were excited because they’ve never been to these places.”
In addition to relaxation activities, such as watching movies, one of the trips included Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville, a farm-themed park with animal, train rides and exhibits related to farm life. During the UPLIFT Summer Academy, the students also visited the state capital in Raleigh
“We really got a chance to understand our state goverment,” Faison said about the visit and tours of the Governor’s mansion.
During the trips, he enjoyed offering opportunities for the students to have new experiences like going bowling for the first time. He was also proud that the trip was free.
“All the parents have to do is get them here and pick them up,” he said.