Educational and Enrichment Programming

Yellow Bus Summer Camp

 yb camp

In 2014, Faces without Places held its 17th annual summer camp, our flagship program.  The Yellow Bus Summer Camp is an educational and enrichment-based program for local children experiencing homelessness.  Each day, our campers (ages five to twelve) spend their mornings focused on literacy, math, and nutrition lessons delivered by certificated teachers and their afternoons in enrichment, fitness, and other activities.  One day a week is generally reserved for an off-site field trip.  FwP provides transportation and breakfast and lunch to the campers each day, completely free of charge.

The Camp aims to (1) improve campers’ literacy and math skills, (2) improve campers’ nutrition and fitness, and (3) expand enrichment opportunities to increase campers’ sense of hope, self-esteem, community connection, and academic empowerment.  Year after year, our summer camp has consistently shown tremendous results and has proven to be a unique, fun, and rewarding experience for our campers. For example, our testing at the beginning and end of camp demonstrates that over 70% of campers retain or increase their literacy and math skill levels.  In addition, parent and camper surveys reveal that campers experienced substantially more enrichment activities than would have otherwise been available to them.  Our camp is crucial for these children in two main ways: (1) it provides much needed supplemental academic lessons to help them catch up with their peers, and (2) it offers a fun and rewarding alternative to being cooped up indoors in shelters or other difficult living conditions, often without air-conditioning.

In 2013, The Yellow Bus Summer Camp ran from June 10 to August 1.  The theme was, “Promoting Healthy Habits Around the World.”  The Camp was one of our best to date, as campers enjoyed a fantastic summer of academics and fitness, cultural, and other enrichment activities.  Please check out these great photographs from the 2013 Camp.

We look forward to another successful camp in 2014!  Please check back for more details as the summer approaches or contact Shelley at for more information.

Thanks to our 2013 Yellow Bus Summer Camp Supporters:

A&A Wall Systems GCF: Summertime Kids Nature Next Door
Adopt-A-Book GE North College Hill Presbyterian Church
Alex Schmitt Girl Scouts Ohio Children’s Foundation
Andrew Mellott Fitness LLC Glier’s Goetta Ohio Foodbank: AmeriCorps
Ann Gibson Glier’s Goetta Origin’s Church
Anna Worpenberg Green Umbrella P&G Fund
Bethany Lutheran Church Happen Inc. Pompilio’s
Cakes by George Holistic Wellness Center PwC
Canine Justice Network Jeff Thomas Catering Reds Community Fund
Casey Helmicki Johnson Investment Council Sallie Mae Foundation
Cincinnati Ballet (Julie Sunderland) Julie Schwanekamp Sandy Downing and Family
Cincinnati Fire Prevention Team Karen Haller Sarajane Satterthwaite
Cincinnati Rotary Club Kings Island St. Francis de Sales
Darcus Anderson KPMG Taylor Forst
Dayspring Church of God Kroger Foundation Teri Griffith
Delta Lazer Kraze The Charles Dater Foundation
Dewey’s Pizza Lee Chapel The Coalition for the Homeless
E.E. Trujillo Lori Zwick The Dollar General Literacy Foundation
Eagle Burgmann Lou Ann Luken The Gathering Church
Emily Marks Magnified Giving: Wyoming HS and SCPA The Magic of Jason Jacobs
Feed the Children Mary Jo Corrado Tim Flannery
Fidelity Mat Huff Toyota Foundation
Foundation for Ohio River Education Mayerson Service Learning Program TTB
Freestore Foodbank McCormick Elementary Whitney Westrich
Frisch’s Mindful Youth Wini and Peggy
Frostee’s Challenge Monica Pepple Yellow Bus Drivers




ZooMates with Xavier 2013

ZooMates, now in its eighth year, is a mentoring program that matches elementary students with Xavier University students.  The mentors and mentees build relationships through participation in weekly after-school field trips and educational and enrichment activities at the Cincinnati Zoo, their school, and the university.

The objectives of the program are: (1) to improve students’ understanding of the importance of higher education, (2) to enhance their sense of hope, academic empowerment, community connection, and self-esteem, and (3) to create strong relationships with positive role models.

Working with certificated teachers, FwP develops activities to integrate academic material from the classroom into these sessions.  Mentees, with the aid of their mentors, delve into hands-on activities that require higher-level thinking skills to facilitate a greater understanding of academic content in the areas of Zoology, Ecology, and Biology.

Greater interpersonal growth presents itself naturally as the mentoring relationships progress.  The program not only exposes mentees to new experiences and skills, but also provides mentees with positive role models who are able to convey the importance of higher education.  Both the mentee and mentor have consistently reported benefitting from their experiences together.  This symbiotic relationship is the cornerstone on which ZooMates was built.

The 2013-14 ZooMates session began in October 2013 and runs through April 2014.  Please check out these photographs.

Please contact Shelley at for more information.


My Little Library Program

Often, children who are experiencing homelessness are staying in homeless shelters with their families.  It is difficult for these children to do their homework or often to just read a book.  It might be too noisy or busy, or they may not even have a book to read.  Additionally, their parents may be dealing with housing, employment, financial and health issues and reading books with their children must become less of a priority.

Faces without Places needs your help to bring one-on-one reading experiences to children in homeless shelters in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, at least once a week.  Our library is stocked with brand new books (for kids of all ages) that are waiting to be shared with children who need the stimulation and comfort of the stories and characters inside them.

Please contact Gretchen at or (513) 389-0805 to get involved!


The Birthday Club

A year in anyone’s life deserves to be celebrated.  When you are a child, birthdays are an even bigger milestone, inevitably becoming important memories to cherish and look back on later in life.

Faces without Places offers groups (such as businesses, churches or other organizations) the chance to take birthday parties into homeless shelters.  The volunteers provide food, cake, crafts and games for children living in transition.  A smile is brought to the face of all involved!

Please contact Gretchen at  or (513) 389-0805 to get involved!

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