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Summer Program Keeps Minds Active, Bodies Full For Tulsa Children In Need

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A child in the program unwraps his lunch. A child in the program unwraps his lunch.
Picture of Wendy Reeder, who has coordinated the program for six years. Picture of Wendy Reeder, who has coordinated the program for six years.
A volunteer reads with one of the children. A volunteer reads with one of the children.

Terry Hood, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Sometimes a little effort can make a big difference.

News On 6 has been telling you about the Food Bank's backpack program in schools to help children who may otherwise go hungry on weekends. The program may not be as big in the summer, but its just as powerful.

In the middle of all the road construction at 61st and Lewis, another kind of transformation is taking place.

With the help of AmeriCorps interns and a group of dedicated volunteers, 70 children are spending the summer enriching their worlds.

"We key in on the reading part, but they get arts and crafts, computers. We do field trips; we're going to the planetarium Thursday," Wendy Reeder, program coordinator, said.

"Project Transformation" has eight sites in Oklahoma. Three of them are in Tulsa, including one at Southern Hills United Methodist church.

Every day children get one-on-one reading instruction, plus a host of other activities that will give them a running start on the upcoming school year.

Many of the children come from low income households where sometimes, the cupboards are bare.

"We're not only feeding their minds, we're feeding their little bodies," Reeder said.

"Project Transformation" offers breakfast and lunch and, with the help of the Community Food Bank Backpack Program, there's something extra for the weekend, too.

"They have cereal, they have juice. Some little treats, pudding," she said. 

"This is just great. These children don't have to be hungry over the weekend. This will get them by."

Reeder has been coordinating this program for six years now. She sees it as eight weeks, 70 kids and a chance to change the world.

"When volunteers are here giving them opportunities like this, then these children see there's another choice, there's another way of life," Reeder said.

"We're making a difference, even if it's just a small difference, in these children's lives," she added.

And you can make a difference, too. Next year, the backpack program hopes to serve even more children and with your help, they can.

For more information on how you can donate, check out

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