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Housing authority children's summer camp on the ropes
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Lillian Bittaye, director of the Newton County Housing Authority's children's summer camp and founder of the non-profit organization Sojourner Truth Observational Study Hometel Inc., said the program is in desperate need of funding to help it continue until July 20.

Bittaye said she is amazed at the support the community has shown through volunteering and donations to the camp's second year.

"We are all praying that people in the community will have a heart and help this program continue," Bittaye said.

Adult and teenage program volunteers, who engage children in educational and recreational activities from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, currently are supervising 50 children.

Educational activities focus on strengthening reading and social skills. Every Friday children must read aloud from a book they chose at the beginning of the week and be able to write the title and identify basic plot elements

Bittaye said she and her staff wanted to take the children on a field trip to the Atlanta Aquarium but have not received enough donations to afford the expensive ticket costs for 50 children.

Even with donations from The Church in the Now, Snapping Shoals EMC, the Newton County Community Foundation, Wal-Mart and Covington Cooks, money is still needed to purchase transportation vehicles for economically disadvantaged children who live outside of the Housing Authority on Alcovy Road.

She said donations also are needed for a block party at the end of the program where each child will receive a free book bag.

Bittaye also requested funds for an after-school tutoring program at the Housing Authority, which helps students with their studies on Mondays and Tuesdays from 3 to 5:30 p.m. when school is in session.

In June, her organization celebrated 14 years of offering services such as missing youth assistance, family support, tutoring, grief support and grant writing to Georgia communities. This August a mini-documentary about missing and runaway youth that she helped to make will air on Comcast.

"This isn't just another fly-by-night organization that comes in and leaves shortly after," Bittaye said. "We want to be a constant in the community."

To make a donation, make checks payable to the Sojourner Truth Observational Study Hometel Inc. or visit to donate using Pay Pal.