Summer Excursion Program Benefits South Carolina Low-Income Youth

The beginning of summer means the end of another academic school year for many students. However, summer also presents a unique challenge for low-income parents seeking affordable youth activities that will stimulate learning during the academic hiatus of summer. Nationwide, millions of low-income parents struggle in their attempts to secure quality summer programs within local communities that produce safe havens for children, in addition to maintaining a curriculum that is jam-packed with fun, inspires learning and expands beyond the typical "day care" setting.

Consequently, the Boards of Directors for EME Apartments; Mt. Pisgah Apartments and Mt. Zion Apartments, three low-income multifamily housing communities located in South Carolina, joined forces with Southern Development Management Company and residents to successfully address this ongoing dilemma. As a result, Regional Manager Ira Banks, Southern Development Company, shared a vision that eventually evolved into a summer youth excursion. With hard work, dedication, lots of planning and a mission to provide low-income children an opportunity for travel while simultaneously exposing them to educational enrichment. A complimentary theme, Educating Ourselves Through Exposure, perfectly expresses the summer excursion's overall objective.

On June 30, 2016, Ira Banks, along with managers from each respective multifamily property, accompanied three 56 passenger buses that were chartered to transport 135 children along with 20 parents, who served as chaperones, for a daytrip to visit Edventure Children's Museum ( in Columbia, SC. The museum opened in 2003, and holds a distinct privilege of being referred to as the largest children's museum in the Southeast United States. It's mission, inspiring children, youth and the adults who care about them to experience the joy of learning, echoed Ira's vision whereas youth encountered amazing activities such as, farming, touring a firetruck, fun puzzles and grocery shopping. The trip culminated with a hearty lunch at Golden Corral Restaurant where everyone enjoyed great fellowship and had lots of fun too. As a memento of the trip, every child along with chaperones were given custom made t-shirts with the theme, Educating Ourselves Through Exposure, printed on the back with properties' name/location on the front.

Finally, Board Members and Southern Development Management Company's dedicated staff hope that the summer excursion will serve as a model for others to emulate and are delighted with the overwhelming success of the first summer excursion. Therefore, a second trip has been scheduled for the month of July when children will tour the South Carolina Aquarium (, located in Charleston, where more than 5000 animals are displayed.

Article prepared by Elaine Bennett, HUD Senior Account Executive, Multifamily Asset Management Division. Ira Banks, Regional Manager, and Jennifer Gibson, Southern Development Management Company contributed to this article.

[Photo 1: Youth walking the halls of the Edventure Children's Museum in Columbia, SC]
Youth walking the halls of the Edventure Children's Museum in Columbia, SC
[Photo 2: Children attending Edventure Children's Museum in Columbia, SC]
Children attending Edventure Children's Museum in Columbia, SC


Content Archived: January 16, 2018