Bridgeport Shelter Gets $1.5 million For Camp, Mentoring Program
CT Post, April 2, 2021
By Amanda Cudo
A summer camp and mentoring program that help Bridgeport children and teen survivors of domestic and sexual violence will get a $1.5 million boost from the Elizabeth M. Pfriem Foundation.
The Bridgeport-based Center for Family Justice, which provides shelter and other services to domestic and sexual abuse survivors, announced that it had received a five-year grant from the Pfriem foundation which will allow the center to expand its Camp HOPE-America-Bridgeport program and its related Pathways to HOPE mentoring program.
Since its inception in summer 2017, the camp has provided local children with a therapeutic summer camp and year-long mentoring program focused on helping them overcome their trauma and develop resiliency in the aftermath of abuse.
The foundation, endowed by the late Bridgeport philanthropist Elizabeth Pfriem, recently announced the donation. In light of the gift, the programs will now be known as The Elizabeth M. Pfriem Camp HOPE America-Bridgeport and the Elizabeth M. Pfriem Pathways to HOPE mentoring program.
The money will allow for the addition of several new educational elements to the camp’s year-long mentoring component, as well as the services of a full-time staff clinician to support campers’ emotional health throughout the year, officials said.
“This incredible gift will be a true game changer for this inspiring program and our future efforts to support the youngest, most vulnerable survivors of abuse,” said Debra A. Greenwood, President and CEO of The Center for Family Justice in a news release.
Big impact back to top
“We are grateful to the Elizabeth M. Pfriem Foundation for believing, as we do, that Camp HOPE has the capacity to change and save young lives, while breaking the generational cycles of abuse. We know the impact of this gift will be realized for many years to come,” she said.
Elizabeth Pfriem, who died in 2017, was the daughter of a Polish immigrant coal mining family and moved to Bridgeport from Scranton, Penn., after World War II. She was the publisher of the former Bridgeport Post (now the Connecticut Post). She became the first female Ringmaster of Bridgeport’s Barnum Festival in 1986.
Camp HOPE is a free, confidential program open to children ages 7 to 17. Qualified campers include center clients, the children of its clients or young people referred by one of the nonprofit’s many community partners.
Each summer, Camp HOPE campers spend a week on site at YMCA Camp Hi-Rock in the Massachusetts’ Berkshires where they engage in a traditional summer camp experience, along with a therapeutic curriculum. After the camp session ends, campers continue to work with CFJ’s staff as part of its Pathways to HOPE mentoring program.