A group of Camp SoulGrow participants learn to make pizza at a pizza parlor.
Enjoy free cocktails and hors d’oeuvres Monday while supporting a new kid-focused enrichment program scheduled to open in New Orleans in March.
The family-friendly Camp SoulGrow MoPho Mambo is 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at MoPho Restaurant (514 City Park Ave., 504-482-6845; www.mophonola.com). Admission is free. The fundraiser includes complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from MoPho, a silent auction, sales of Camp SoulGrow
merchandise and a children’s area where kids can make MoPho food, cotton candy more. MoPho also will donate to Camp SoulGrow 15 percent of restaurant sales from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday.
Camp SoulGrow is a nonprofit that focuses on giving children of all backgrounds an opportunity to attend workshops and interact with artists and businesses in the community so the kids can explore their talents and interests, meet new people and build confidence. New Orleans native London Rosiere founded Camp SoulGrow using money her late mother left her when she died in 2014.
“I watched my mom sort of let go of her light and her life just by not believing in herself,” Rosiere says. “As a teenager at Mt. Carmel (Academy), I attempted suicide because I felt so alone. I want people to know they are never alone … and there’s something to live for. I believe it goes back to self-love and self-esteem.”
Rosiere moved to New York, where she started workshops for children in three locations. More than 755 children have participated in those workshops.
SoulGrow campers decorate king cakes
The 15 spots available at each New Orleans workshop will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. For some of the sessions, campers visit businesses and other organizations in the community so campers can explore firsthand what types of work are available and what interests them.
“This is an opportunity for people in the community to share their gifts and talents, even if it’s an ornament-making workshop,” Rosiere says. “Not only do they get to show these kids what they are good at, but the kids learn about the people in their community.
“It’s a great way for businesses to promote themselves. They’re also getting a one-on-one experience with their future customers and employees. New Orleans has so many artistic and creative things people do here. There’s so much talent that can be recycled and shared.”
The goal of the program is to help children build self-esteem by finding their place in the world and learning about the resources and options available to them.
“The insecurities of growing up and being a teenager, the pressures kids have, (we want to build their self-esteem so) they are stronger people and don’t fall into making weaker decisions.”
The workshops are free, but donations are welcome. The program is operated by volunteers, and Rosiere says high school volunteers can receive service hours at their schools for working at the camp and helping on the field trips. “It gives the kids in the program some older kids to look up to,” she says. “It’s all about giving kids opportunities to make friendships and believe in themselves. … There’s no pressure and it’s open arms for these kids.”