MOUNT CARMEL — Thanks to the generosity of inmates at SCI-Coal Township, 10 more children in the Mount Carmel area will be able to attend the Kaupas Camp this summer.
The Lifeline Association, a nonprofit organization of prisoners at SCI-Coal Township, has decided to donate $3,800 to help fund the 2018 camp. This is the second charitable contribution made by the prisoners within the last month to help meet community needs in the Mount Carmel area. Last month, prison administrators, on behalf of the association, delivered a check for $1,000 to the Mount Carmel Area Food Pantry.
Camp task force representatives Father Martin Moran, supervisor, and Jake Betz, director, of the Mother Maria Kaupas Center, and Pete Cheddar, Mount Carmel Area Junior High School principal, expressed gratitude to the prisoners for their efforts to improve the quality of life in the coal region.
The announcement of the planned donation was made Monday during the Bucknell-Lafayette women’s basketball game at Bucknell’s Sojka Pavilion. The presentation coincided with Bucknell’s sponsorship of Education Day, an event for middle school age students from several area school districts, including Mount Carmel Area.
Although inclement weather prevented Mount Carmel Area children from attending the Education Day program and the game, the announcement of the prisoners’ donation, complete with the presentation of a ceremonial check, went on as planned during the break between the third and fourth quarters.
Superintendent Thomas McGinley was at the game to announce the donation, along with four others from the prison staff: Keith Tripp, major of unit management; Kathy Biscoe, unit manager; and Jason Gatewood and Eric Stracco, counselors. Representing the Kaupas Camp were Cheddar, Moran and Betz. Maisha Kelly, senior associate athletic director at Bucknell, also took part in the presentation in recognition of the major role played by the Bucknell Athletics Department in making the camp a success.
The Kaupas Camp, sponsored by the Mount Carmel Area School District, was envisioned by the Mother Mother Maria Kaupas Center, which remains a principal partner in planning and raising funds for the annual event. The camp includes an academic component, which has been provided through the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit’s STEAMS program, community service days and athletic clinics conducted in Mount Carmel and on the university campus by Bucknell coaches. Bucknell staff has also provided additional enrichment programs for students during the camp.
Bucknell professor Carl Milofsky arranged a meeting at the prison last fall between the Lifeline Association and Mother Maria Kaupas Center representatives so prisoners could learn more about needs in the Mount Carmel community.
The camp, free to students, has been solely supported through contributions from individuals, businesses and organizations. These donations have been mostly needed to pay for staffing costs not covered through the STEAMS program. Beyond the significant contribution of $3,800 provided by the Lifeline Association, additional funding will be needed to support participation by more students.
Contributions may be sent to the Mount Carmel Area Education Foundation care of the Mount Carmel Area School District. Donors should stipulate the gift is intended for the Kaupas Camp.