Kelvy is 5 years old. In these first years of his life, Kelvy was cared for by his mom at home. He had very little interaction with people outside his family and was extremely shy. This spring, Kelvy joined a soccer team. Each trip to soccer was difficult. Kelvy cried on the way to soccer and he refused to play or interact with the other kids when he arrived. Kelvy’s parents grew concerned about his upcoming transition to kindergarten.

This summer Kelvy’s parents signed him up for United Way of Lake County’s Kindergarten Countdown Camp (KCC), a free summer learning program for incoming kindergarten students who have little to no preschool experience. Taught by licensed kindergarten teachers, KCC prepares students for a successful start in kindergarten by helping children adjust to the classroom setting, practice following directions and rules and teaching key kindergarten skills such as recognizing shapes, letters, counting and writing their names.

Kelvy blossomed during Kindergarten Countdown Camp—connecting with his peers while building the skills he needs to succeed in kindergarten. Kelvy’s mom was shocked to see his independence and confidence grow. After just two days of KCC, Kelvy convinced his mom, instead of driving him, to let him ride the school bus to and from school with his friends. Kelvy transformed into a social butterfly, looking forward to attending school each day and becoming friends with everyone in his class. And, Kelvy’s confidence extended beyond the classroom to the soccer field where he is now excited to play soccer with his new friends.

Through Kindergarten Countdown Camp, we can give children the foundation they need to succeed in school and in life.

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