What We Do
We develop good neighbors' skills and values in children through programs that nourish, educate and support them while providing life-changing experiences for college students through internships.
The vision for SML Good Neighbors emerged in 2006 from conversations about hunger among members of several local church congregations around Smith Mountain Lake. The church members quickly determined that many elementary school children in the area live in families with limited resources. During the school year, these children receive free or reduced cost lunches, but these meals are not available when school is out for the summer. Their parents typically cannot afford to pay for summer enrichments (such as trips to museums, or for educational camps) and many thus suffer the “summer slide”—the significant loss of reading and math skills over the summer. Begun in 2006 as a sack lunch and weekend food bag program for students in several area schools, SML Good Neighbors grew the following year into a summer day camp program that addresses elementary school students’ educational and nutritional needs.
Carefully selected college interns from across the country and the world are the classroom teachers for Summer Enrichment Camps. Many of them are Bonner Scholars who are committed to community service. All foster a love for learning and healthy living through example and mentorship with the campers.
SML Good Neighbors now offers several programs, reaching children from 1st through 12th grade through after-school activities and summer day camps in rural communities around our offices and house in Bedford County. Each Friday of camp, campers also receive weekend food bags and free books to keep.
WE WILL BE BACK IN-PERSON for 2021 Summer Enrichment Camps in Bedford and Franklin Counties!