CHICAGO (CBS) — If the warm weather headed our way this weekend has you thinking about summer now more than ever, we can relate. Summertime means camp for many kids, and today we’re telling you about one, but it’s no ordinary camp.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory explains why.READ MORE: Four People Arrested After Car Stolen In Pullman Carjacking Spotted In Chatham
The smiles on their faces, their energy, and their resilience don’t reveal some of the tragedies they’ve experienced. All the kids attending Camp Sheilah have lost a parent or sibling to homicide.
“The best healing that happens is to know you’re not alone,” said Kevin Doyle, the Founder and Executive Director of the Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation.
Doyle has experienced this loss first-hand. In 1993, his mom, a nurse, had just finished her 11 p.m. shift, when several men trailed her, intending to steal her car parts.
“She checked out of work and started to proceed home,” Doyle said. “They followed her home for 30 minutes all the way to her house in Palos Park. … Two guys got out of the car, ran up the driveway … told her to get out, so she did.”
“Then they told her to get into the trunk and she refused. So they basically forced her in, and shot her in the head, and left,” Doyle added.
The loss of his mom inspired Doyle to start a foundation and camp in her name. His goal of helping a few kids that have lost a loved one to homicide quickly grew.READ MORE: Aldermen Approve Revised Plan To Close Loophole In Anti-Puppy Mill Ordinance Restricting Sales Of Dogs, Cats, And Rabbits At Pet Stores
“In probably our 10-year history we’ve helped over 200 families with multiple children,” Doyle said.
Josh Cooper is one of them.
“My father was murdered when I was 3 years old, to gun violence in Rockford,” Cooper said.
He attended as a camper back in 2011, but he’s stayed on as a volunteer for the past 10 years to pass on the lessons he learned at Camp Sheilah.
“It’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay to open up, and you can succeed in life with these tragedies that have happened to you,” he said.
The pandemic hasn’t stopped them from spreading this message. Last year, the three-day camp went virtual; complete with breakout sessions, games, and of course, camp t-shirts.MORE NEWS: Live Updates From CBS News: Multiple People Shot At Tennessee High School
Those interested in joining Camp Sheilah or applying for a scholarship can do so at sadfund.org.