Two summers ago, Lina Zuluaga attended MetroTown Summer Camp for the first time and calls the experience life-changing.
Through the camp, the senior at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, got the chance to speak to teens from around the county about social justice issues and that led her to decide to become a civil rights attorney.
“It’s realizing that other people suffer, that oppression is real and that inequalities exist,” said Zuluaga, 18, who will serve as a counselor at the camp this year.
MetroTown seeks to break down barriers and help children gain understanding of one another through a nearly week-long camp. Enrollment is now open and organizers with MCCJ are encouraging Miami-Dade County high school students to take part in the camp, which runs from July 26 to 31 at St. Thomas University.
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"For one week, we remove all barriers and you can feel free to be yourself,” said Lutze Segu, program director. “It’s like their own little utopia.”
While at the camp, teens will take part in activities and exercises designed to stimulate dialogue and help them become more confident.
“By the first day, folks are sharing and they’re being vulnerable,” Segu said. “We talk about the community we want to build.”
Zuluaga encourages other teens to take part in the camp.
“It’s really amazing because they’re going to learn a lot about culture and diversity, it’s very hands on.”
The deadline to apply is June 1.