Camp Fire First Texas Council, one of 13 nonprofits receiving annual grants from the Ella C. McFadden Endowment Fund at Community Foundation of North Texas, has served the region since 1914. During that time, the organization has shifted its programming to meet the changing needs of our community, while maintaining the core values of WoHeLo – or Work, Health and Love. And nobody knows that better than Thomas, a participant in Camp Fire’s after school and summer day camp program.
Thomas first came to the Diamond Hill Station after school program when he was only four years old. Before being adopted at the age of nine by his aunt, a program director at Diamond Hill, Thomas had behavior issues from being bounced around the foster care system. The structure and dependability of the program helped him get back on track.
As Thomas grew, so did his exceptional character. He has been honored twice as a “Camp Fire Absolutely Incredible Kid”. He continues to spend every day after school at Diamond Hill Station and has become a leader, helping other children with homework and other tasks. It is like home to him and he enjoys his place as a role model for all the other children in the program.
Thomas explained, “These kids affect me – I have to come in every day with a good attitude no matter how I feel, so not to be a poor role model for them.”
Thomas is now 17 years old and is completing his senior year at Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School. His success continues. He was accepted to TCU and recently received the prestigious TCU Class of 2019 Community Scholars Award worth $200,000 – the total cost of his tuition, fees, books, room and board for four years. Thomas plans to pursue a degree in nursing where he can continue to give back and help shape the world.
The after school initiative at Diamond Hill Station is one of many programs at Camp Fire that is benefitting from the Ella C. McFadden Endowment Fund as a sustainable funding source. Other supported projects include outdoor education, camping programs, early childhood development, professional development of early education providers, high school completion and quality out-of-school programs.
Through Mrs. McFadden’s generosity, Camp Fire has been able to change many young lives, just like Thomas.
To celebrate 30 years of giving from the Ella C. McFadden Endowment Fund, Community Foundation of North Texas is hosting a series called 13 Days of Giving. Each weekday through December 17, we’ll share a story highlighting how one of the nonprofits benefitting from the fund has impacted this region. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to receive the daily alerts, or visit www.cfntx.org.