Seminole County launches initiative to support children, families impacted by Hurricane Ian

Seminole county is launching a new initiative to help families impacted by natural disasters – especially hurricanes. It’s called Project Camp, and the focus is primarily children.

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It’s called Project Camp, and the focus is primarily children.

It might look like just another regular day at camp, but all the kids at the YMCA in Oviedo on Wednesday have something in common – their families survived a deadly storm.

“This whole week we’ve had project camp, which is a free spring break camp for kids and families who were impacted by Hurricane Ian,” said Christy Hoffman, with the YMCA in Oviedo.

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About 90 children from Seminole County whose families were impacted by the deadly hurricane Ian in 2022 joined the program, launched this week by the county’s emergency management office.

“We’re targeting low fixed income communities, transportation disadvantaged communities, as well as language barriers, things like that,” said Allan Harris, Emergency Manager for Seminole County. “Anything to that may be marginalized or having a harder time getting to services.”

The families supported by the initiative are still dealing with the aftermath of the storm today.

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Many have not even been able to go back to their homes, almost 2 years after the storm.

“It’s important to have these spaces for kids to help them process the trauma that they’ve been through,” said Henry Meyer, with Project Camp “We have a trauma informed program. We do activities that help kids process through play process through their peer network. And it gives them a unique space to do that.”

The program is free and open to the entire community. “I get to express my feelings while I’m here,” said 11-year-old Zamyra, who’s one of the first children to join the project. “I like to work out and I like to do Zumba sometimes with my mom. It just makes me happy.”

The county says it’s already preparing for this upcoming hurricane season and it the plans is to set up camps just like this one about 48h after a storm hits.

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