Two-Week Summer Reading Camp Marking 20 Years of Enriching Children’s Lives in the Seneca-Babcock Neighborhood Starts July 16

60 Volunteers from Western New York and Georgia Offer Children a Variety of Activities, Culminating with Backpacks Filled with School Supplies for Each Camper

July 11, 2018 – A Summer Reading Camp in the Seneca-Babcock neighborhood of Buffalo was started by a retired school teacher from Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in East Aurora. She saw how poorly children were reading when she came to volunteer at Seneca Street Church. That first year about 10 children turned out, compared with about 80 children expected to attend this year — its 20th year — which starts Monday, July 16.

The Summer Reading Camp, offered free of cost by the Seneca Street Community Development Corporation (CDC), will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday, July 16-19 and July 23-26, at Seneca Street United Methodist Church, 1218 Seneca St., Buffalo.

The Buffalo Board of Education provides breakfast and lunch to the children, and children pick out new and gently-used books to take home every day.

Children ages kindergarten through eighth grade, in addition to reading, rotate through stations in their age groups to experience writing, science, cooking, sewing and recreation throughout each morning.

About 60 volunteers will share their time and talents to work with the children over the course of the two weeks. Twenty volunteers from Duluth United Methodist Church in Duluth, Georgia will come to help during the first week, a 14-year tradition for the southern church. These volunteers pay their own airfare, hotel and meals. More importantly, with the consistency of their annual presence at camp, close bonds have formed between the kids and volunteers that continue throughout the year. In addition, hundreds of volunteers from the Buffalo area have helped for the past 15 years. The Summer Reading Camp has become an important annual event for them as well.

The Camp culminates with a “graduation” celebration for the children on Thursday, July 26, with the presentation of a certificate and a new backpack filled with all the school supplies they will need for their next grade, as well as an ice cream social. Grants and donations are sought to support the program to ensure that every child receives a backpack.

Seneca Street CDC, established in 2009 as a 501(c)(3), offers programs throughout the year. During the school year, a free academics and enrichment after-school program serves students from kindergarten through high school. It consists of homework assistance and skills development, recreational activities, and a daily hot meal for about 70 children and teens. “Summer at Seneca Street” is a six-week weekday program for elementary-age children. The Seneca Street CDC also runs the Seneca Street Community Garden, where neighbors grow their own food and connect with others. Also, the CDC recently began offering sessions for a Neighborhood Health Resource Center on site, providing much needed preventative health care in partnership with Seneca Street Church and The Neighborhood Health Center.

According to student data, 68 percent of children enrolled in Seneca Street CDC programs come from homes with an annual income of less than $25,000. Enrichment programs are essential for student academic success. Even though this community is just “a bridge away” from Larkinville, the community remains isolated and economically depressed.

The mission of the Seneca Street CDC is to partner with neighbors in the Seneca Babcock community to provide a supportive environment to overcome educational, social and economic barriers. They provide opportunities for the entire community to acquire skills that build resiliency and self-reliance, enhancing the quality of life and potential for current and future generations in the neighborhood.

Seneca Street CDC is a gold-level GuideStar participant, demonstrating the non-profit’s commitment to transparency.

For more information about Seneca Street Community Development Corporation, call (716) 939-3501 or go online at

For more information about Seneca Street Community Development Corporation, call (716) 939-3501 or visit us online at

Seneca Street Community Development Corporation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Any contributions made to the organization may be tax deductible. Please consult with your tax advisor for more information. The organization is registered with the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau. A copy of the latest annual report may be obtained, upon written request, from the organization (Seneca Street Community Development Corporation, 1218 Seneca Street, Buffalo, New York, 14210) or from the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau (Charities Bureau, 28 Liberty Street, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10005). Donors may also verify our status by visiting GuideStar, an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies.