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'Just like Me' summer camp teens putting on Thursday performance

Campers are teens in foster care using art as a way to express themselves

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Thursday head down to the Florida Theatre to cheer on foster teens in the 'Just like Me' summer camp.

The camp is an 11-year-old partnership with Family Support Services (FSS) and The Performance Academy (TPA).

TPA's Executive Director Ebony Payne-English says it's designed to give teens in care a way to express themselves through art. 

“Those stories that they’re carrying inside with them that they feel like they can’t tell anyone not even a therapist, they can put on a canvas. They can get it out in a dance. They can sing it through in a metaphor. They can write a poem and just place it someplace that is not going to harm them or someone else so that’s what it has done and we continue to see that work," English said.

FSS's Maria Oxford says year after year they watch campers come in and transform.

"I think it’s just getting to talk to people and getting to know other teenagers their age by the end of the three weeks they’re on stage they are expressing themselves through art and they are a completely different person," Oxford said.

]Foster mom, Amelia Stapleton has three girls in the camp this year. 

“One of them is doing designing which is new for her. I have another one who is dancing, she doesn’t dance but hey they brought it out of her, and then my other one does art but with art, this is what she loves so it’s just enhancing her talent," Stapleton said. 

Campers will show off their talents at the Florida Theatre through rap, dance, poetry, and even a fashion show. 

"They’re excited and want to come back they wake up early in the morning on their own. I wish they had the same excitement for school. This camp is amazing," Stapleton said. 

To learn more about the camp or how you can become a foster parent click here

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