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Arts summer camps are free for San Diego Unified students

The summer camp at Perkins K-8 school is not your average affair.

Many of the students at this music, dance and arts camp in Barrio Logan are experiencing homelessness, City Heights Music School assistant director Mario Eguia said.

“These kids are going through rough times. And it's hard when you're living through that to realize that there's beauty out there,” he said.

Eguia’s organization is one of a group of nonprofits that are providing a dozen similar camps for free to students in the San Diego Unified School District.

“We don't need more cynical people in this world. We need people that are dreamers, people that are hopeful. And that's what's going to change,” Eguia said. “That's why it's important.”

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Jacob Aere
A group of young girls drum to the beat during a summer camp at Perkins K-8 School in Barrio Logan, June 23, 2022.

Evelia Garduño is a mother of six with two children in the Perkins K-8 arts and music camp. She said her family couldn't otherwise afford a similar experience.

“I don't have enough financially to give the children that opportunity to experience something different that they don't have at home or that they don't have elsewhere. So it is a very big opportunity for them,” Garduño told KPBS in Spanish.

Kids who are taking part at the Perkins art camp, such as fourth grader Jocsan Guerrero Ascencio, are grateful to have an opportunity to relax, make friends and express how they feel.

“It means a lot to me because I really like to do these kinds of things. It makes me calm down and enjoy and be happy,” he said, while collaboratively painting a mural with others at the camp.

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Jacob Aere
A group of young children paint a mural on a wall at Perkins K-8 school in Barrio Logan, June 23, 2022.

The camps run through July 15. There’s still time at some of the locations for enrollment, which, again, is free for San Diego Unified students. For those outside of the district, the camps are $150.