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Gallery Furniture holds summer camp for neighborhood kids

HOUSTON – Jim McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture, knows the value of an education, and he wants to share that information with young children of school age, that live near his store on I-45.

This summer, he sponsored a Summer Camp for about 40 children that live in the apartment houses near his store.

Children in the La Casita Apartment Complex behind Gallery Furniture found a fun safe place to spend their summer courtesy of the employees of Gallery Furniture. The Summer Enrichment Camp, or “Fun with Mattress Mack” as it was also called, is a program developed by the employees at Gallery Furniture to give children ages 6 to 12 who live in the complex behind the Houston retailer a place to learn and have fun during the summer break.

With their parent’s approval, more than two dozen youngsters attended the camp Monday through Friday from July 24 to August 15. Three certified teachers and a teaching assistant implemented the program that emphasizes ethics, life skills and of course fun.

The program was managed by Gallery Furniture Human Resources director Carolyn Phillips. The main Facilitator was Aslean McCowin, a retired educator from the North Forest School District. She also had three other certified and retired teachers from that district to help her. McCowin’s husband is also a warehouse manager at Gallery Furniture, and this relationship helped set up the program.

“The goal of the 2008 Summer Enrichment Camp is to provide a quality program emphasizing academic achievement, social and emotional well-being, spiritual awareness and work ethic” said Gallery Furniture owner, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale. “Gallery Furniture is very excited to help these young people learn important lessons that will not only help them excel in the upcoming school year but that will help them for the rest of their lives.”

Children attending the camp have had the opportunity to meet adults from a number of occupations who visit during the camp sessions. They also learned lessons about communication, character, productivity, organization skills, and getting along with others.

Reading and writing were a major focus, so publisher MacMillan/McGraw Hill has provided books, bags, and other supplies. Every day each child gets a new book and by the end of the camp each youngster had fifteen new books to add to his or her personal library.