July 9th, 2018
“The most fun was going paddle boarding and roller skating,” Jeremiah said. “I haven’t done those things before.”
Adolescence is rough enough without any added challenges. For homeless teens, the issues posed by adolescence are compounded by those caused by homelessness. To support this population, The Floating Hospital launched Camp Rise Up: Reaching New Heights.
Camp Rise Up is aiding teenagers living in homeless shelters and domestic violence safe houses by teaching them a variety of health topics and life skills. For instance, one lesson focused on pregnancy, birth and the costs of childcare. Each participant estimated the yearly cost of a baby and had to care for a water balloon “baby” — or “babies,” as one teen was given octuplets — for 24 hours.
“The pregnancy day was my favorite day,” said KiAnna, a 16-year-old participant. “And I’m glad I know more about the risks of birth control. I have younger female cousins and friends, so when they don’t know what to do, I can educate them more about that.”
Another lesson centered around gender expression and identity. “I liked learning about the different [gender] pronouns,” said 12-year-old Jaydon. “I didn’t really know about that.”
In the afternoons, the teens were taken on field trips to parks and educational sites like the New York Hall of Science. Jaydon said the trips were his favorite part of the camp, and Jeremiah, 13, agreed.