Westport Human Services Director Elaine Daignault announced the department's annual end-of-school-year appeal for community donations to help income-eligible families participate in summer programs, graduation ceremonies, and milestones like proms and other celebrations.
Daignault noted, "Human Services' Ceremonies & Celebrations and Campership Programs encourage inclusion and stability by allowing Westport's most vulnerable children to celebrate their academic achievements and enjoy a sense of community by attending events without the added financial pressure that many parents experience this time of year."
Annette D'Augelli, Human Services Youth and Family Specialist adds, "The end of the school year expenses can quickly add up. For example, the average cost of attending prom can be upwards of $400, which includes prom tickets, clothing, food, and transportation. At the same time, graduation ceremonies require the proper attire, shoes, and usually a family meal."
Donations to Human Services Family-to-Family Programs directly benefit families experiencing financial insecurity. Ceremonies & Celebrations helps income-qualified families with children in grades 8 and 12 by offering gift cards to purchase appropriate clothing for graduation and prom season and may also help families share a special meal. While the Campership Program provides reliable childcare and enrichment activities that many children would not have otherwise been able to afford this summer.
According to D'Augelli, "Last summer, 58 income-qualified youth (from 32 families) participated in the campership program, and we expect that number to grow as the summer approaches, and our community partners continue to collaborate on opening opportunities for families in need.”