Children in the Inn

Jul 13, 2022

CITI Camp Finally at Home!

For twelve years, RITI has sheltered people experiencing homelessness in Memphis, and children have always been among the guests at the door. The obvious need for more family shelter spaces, advocacy services, and long-term support is what fueled the dream of our Family Inn program.

As we prepared this program and space for 24/7 family shelter, we knew there would be needs specific to the children under our roof. With the support of AmeriCorps, the CITI (Children in the Inn) project was born. The passion for this project stems from CITI Camp, which began 15 years ago as a free summer day camp at Colonial Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

With AmeriCorps VISTA, Room in the Inn will work over the course of 3+ years with hired VISTA members to build the capacity of the CITI project.

Year One Achievements:

  • Created the Youth Lab – an on-site learning environment with technology for virtual learning and homework completion.
  • Strengthened a partnership with Memphis Shelby County Schools (MSCS), ensuring RITI families were utilizing the resources available to them through the school including uniforms, supplies, and transportation assistance.
  • Began MSCS tutoring program with on-site volunteers after school
    Facilitated CITI Camp summer programming.
  • Developed partnerships with local organizations, donors, and volunteers for programming and supplies.

Current Goals:

  • Meet regularly with a focus group of current and previous families to guide the development of the project
  • Build trauma-informed curriculum for after-school and summer educational and recreational programming for all ages
  • Create a mentorship program that will provide ongoing support for participating children even after they have left shelter for permanent housing
  • Develop methods of support and data collection that increase stability in school performance, presence, and social behavior
  • Recruit volunteers and raise funds to make the project sustainable long-term

Special thanks to all who have made CITI Camp possible this summer. CITI Curriculum Coordinator VISTA, Christine Fox, planned a fun-filled summer with daily activities facilitated by Intern Asya Bray and volunteers like Terri Dulaney and many more. Partnerships with Literacy Mid-South, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Ballet Memphis, Team Read, and Memphis Kids in Nature have kept us on the move while the children explored the theme “Finding ME in MEmphis!” 


Summer Intern, Asya Bray:

“I am the director of CITI camp, running activities and helping keep the students on track for school by partnering up with programs like Literacy Mid-South and Team Read. I have always been interested in working with children. I thought when I was younger that I may be a teacher, plus with my previous serving experiences, I know a bit about summer camp. Camp consists of constant activities, which can be anything from watching a movie to going outside, field trips, lunch and a snack time. I enjoy all my time with the wonderful campers and every volunteer that comes through just enriches my entire experience.”

Asya is participating in the Summer Service Fellowship with Rhodes College. We’re so grateful for the love and positive energy Asya brings to the RITI team and pours into her time with the CITI Campers!

Make Room for Children to Learn & Play

Your donation creates summer programming, updates indoor and outdoor learning environments, provides school supplies, and so much more!