Story by: Khadejeh Nikouyeh
Knoah Glover said he heard his stepfather threaten his mother in 2017. Less than 24 hours later, he found her dead.
“It’s kind of a shocking story and scary,” recalled Glover, 13, who lives in Greensboro.
For six days and five nights, Glover will be one of 60 children participating in Camp HOPE. It’s a place where kids who have encountered domestic violence or the trauma associated with it can share their experiences while learning from people who’ve overcome adversity.
“After I got counseling and stuff and I came to camp, I started feeling better and I found so much hope after this,” Glover said. “There’s so many things I’m capable of.”
Camp HOPE, in its third year, is hosted by the Guilford County Family Justice Center and held at Camp Weaver, which is located in southeast Greensboro.
The $650 price tag for each camper is funded by donors.
“We are really in that place where we see families who have had generational cycles of trauma and violence and abuse,” said Catherine Johnson, the director of the Family Justice Center. “(Camp HOPE is) an earlier intervention with children … that we’re trying to change the trajectory of these kids’ lives.”
On Tuesday, Johnson sat on a bench with Glover while he articulated the death of his mother and how Camp HOPE helped him cope.
Glover recalled hearing his stepfather’s threats the night before he found his mother. The next day he walked into a bathroom and saw blood.
“I tried waking up my mom and she didn’t wake up or anything,” Glover said.
His friend, Alfonso Lancaster, sat next to Glover listening to his story. Then he shared his own.
The two boys walked down a path to play a game where campers have to line up in alphabetical order while balancing themselves on a wooden log.
Up the trail, Ben Sanchez, 9, had just finished a ropes course. It’s his first year at Camp HOPE. Sanchez said he was homesick at first, but that quickly faded because of the fun he was having.
He didn’t want to share his story, but he said in his first two days he’d learned a lot.
“You can learn where to find hope and you can believe in yourself, your dreams and others,” Sanchez said.
Johnson launched Camp HOPE in 2017, as an affiliate of Camp HOPE America that began in San Diego.
“I think with Camp HOPE kids — with obviously a little more having happened in their lives than most kids — is they do have fears,” explained Jamie “Aussie” Cosson, Camp Weaver’s executive director. “I think this is a place where they can come and feel safe and secure and be successful and build upon that recovery.”
Read the original story here.