Art summer camps are free for San Diego Unified students

Perkins K-8 School Summer Camp is no ordinary affair.

Many students at this music, dance and arts camp in Barrio Logan are homeless, said Mario Eguia, vice principal of City Heights Music School.

“These children are going through difficult times. And it’s hard when you’re going through that to realize there’s beauty out there, he said.

Eguia’s organization is part of a group of non-profit associations that provide a dozen free similar camps for San Diego Unified School District students.

“We don’t need more cynical people in this world. We need people who dream, people who have hope. And that’s what will change,” Eguia said. “That’s why it matters.”

Jacob Aere

A group of young girls drum in rhythm during a summer camp at Perkins K-8 School in Barrio Logan, June 23, 2022.

Evelia Garduño is a mother of six with two children in Perkins K-8 Arts and Music Camp. She said her family could not otherwise afford a similar experience.

“I don’t have enough money to give children the opportunity to experience something different that they don’t have at home or elsewhere. So this is a very big opportunity for them,” Garduño told KPBS in Spanish.

Children who attend Perkins Art Camp, like fourth grader Jocsan Guerrero Ascencio, are grateful for the opportunity to relax, make friends and express their feelings.

“It means a lot to me because I really like doing this stuff. It allows me to calm down, enjoy and be happy,” he said, while painting a mural in collaboration with other people in the camp.

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Jacob Aere

A group of young children paint a mural on a wall at Perkins K-8 School in Barrio Logan, June 23, 2022.

Camps run until July 15. There is still time at select locations for registration, which again is free for San Diego Unified students. For those outside the district, camps cost $150.

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