Lauryn Lima, a junior majoring in biomedical engineering and co-director for UM’s Camp Kesem Chapter, joined Camp Kesem to help children through a challenge that she once faced herself.
“I know what it’s like to be on the other side of things and to be the campers that feel like they have to grow up too fast, feel like they can’t be a kid or feel like they’re alone and I don’t want anyone to feel that way,” Lima said.
On Tuesday Nov. 30, the University of Miami’s Camp Kesem Chapter will host its annual Giving Tuesday fundraiser.
Camp Kesem is an organization that aims to provide support for children who have been impacted by their guardian’s battle with cancer. Camp Kesem hosts a week-long, sleepaway summer camp for the children fully funded by donations collected throughout the year.
Giving Tuesday is a global initiative to promote generosity and donations to non-profit organizations. In the 24-hour donation window, all service and processing fees are waived, meaning that Camp Kesem will receive 100% of its donations.
On Giving Tuesday, Kesem members will be posting games to donate and promotional material for events on social media. Along with having a profit share with Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream, UM’s Camp Kesem Chapter will also be hosting fun events throughout the day at the Rock and the Lakeside Canopy.
This year’s goal is to raise $45,000 during Giving Tuesday alone, nearly half of the organization’s yearly goal.
Organizers of the event say that the spirit of Giving Tuesday is more than raising donations.
“Success on a day like Giving Tuesday isn’t necessarily just monetary but more just raising awareness about our organization,” Lima said. “Getting people involved and excited to be a part of Camp Kesem.”
Along with year-round fundraising initiatives, Kesem provides several support events for the families including virtual cabin chats, member-camper meetings and in-person events for the campers and their families.
“The whole point is to provide a community of love and support and provide peace to these children who have had to mature too quickly in their household,” said Alexander Sanjurjo, a senior majoring in neuroscience and co-director of UM’s Camp Kesem chapter.
The summer camp was held online for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the camp will finally be returning in-person.
Apart from causing Camp Kesem to go virtual, the pandemic also made it difficult to raise funds for their cause. Organizers said that they hope with the return to in-person events, like this upcoming Giving Tuesday, that they will be able to accumulate donations like in years past.
Camp Kesem organizers said that they hope Giving Tuesday will continue to help the children of the Kesem community.
“These are some of the most amazing kids that I’ve ever met and worked with and all that they’ve been through is so challenging and although I haven’t experienced such a situation myself, I completely empathize with everything that they’ve been through and want to do everything I can,” Sanjurjo said.
For more information on Giving Tuesday and Camp Kesem, visit them on Engage or their instagram: @campkesemmiami.