Children’s Programs

Friends of the Poor hosts educational and social programs for children throughout the year.  They include: 

  • Big Friends Little Friends – an afterschool program at Valley View Terrace.  Students receive a “Big Friend” mentor who is a student at either the University of Scranton or Marywood University.  Twice a week, the Big Friends meet with their Little Friends for homework help, a hot meal, and some recreational time.  The program is run by an elementary school teacher who assists with the homework time and implements educational games and activities during recreational time. 
  • Camp Connections – a six-week STEAM summer camp held at Keystone College.  Students aged 3-11 are bussed from the Scranton Housing Authority Family Developments three times a week for a day filled with STEAM activities, including: pottery, science experiments, cooking classes, music classes, outdoor exploration, and more.  Students from Lackawanna Trail school district also attend camp.  
  • Ruane Scholarship – children from Friends of the Poor attend various theater camps in the city year-round, culminating in a multi-day performance.  In the past, students have attending camps at the Scranton Cultural Center and performed in Beauty and the Beast, Hairspray Jr., Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and more. 
  • Field Trips – during the summer months, children attend various field trips with their parents to encourage family bonding.  Recent field trips have included the Montage Mountain Water Park and a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game.  Beginning Spring 2019, children will visit Washington, DC to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture as well as some DC monuments.  This trip will be chaperoned by the “Big Friends” from Marywood University and the University of Scranton.  This trip is sponsored by the Friends of the Poor Monsignor Marra Memorial Fund. 
  • Summer Lunches  Friends of the Poor hosts the CEO Weinberg Food Bank “Food 4 Kids” program at six of our sites.  Lunches are served to children five days a week.  FOTP also partners with the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties for their summer learning programs.  United Way provides the materials for an educational craft/experiment, and our lunch volunteers carry it out with the children after lunch. 
  • Summer Sign-Ups – Friends of the Poor hosts a Summer Sign-Up Session at the developments with an ice cream truck and free produce market to introduce our summer activities to the families and sign children up for our various camps. 
  • Holiday Parties – Friends of the Poor provides transportation to area holiday parties for children, including the University of Scranton Safe Trick or Treat, Christmas parties, and more.  Additionally, FOTP works with community groups and volunteers to provide holiday parties for children, including the North Pocono High School Halloween Party, the St. Anthony/St. Rocco Christmas Party, and the Young Lawyers Association Christmas Party. 
  • Back to School – FOTP fills backpacks with school supplies, including notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, glue, and more.  FOTP then transports these supplies to the Scranton Housing Authority Family Developments and distributes them to residents. 
  • Christmas Toy Giveaway – FOTP works with Catholic Social Services to provide Christmas Toys to area families in need.  FOTP collects donations of new toys and purchases toys at a discounted price from area stores.  Catholic Social Services receives toys from the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive.  From these efforts, FOTP and Catholic Social Services are able to provide over 5,000 gifts per year. 
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day – FOTP takes area children on an education field trip for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  In past years, children have visited the Scranton Police Station to learn about public service and safety.  In 2018, children then had lunch with police officers and colored cards with kind messages to be distributed to the public.