Grace’s Story

Camp Winnarainbow is extremely proud to have impacted the lives of thousands of young people through its scholarship fund. Perhaps the best way to understand Winnarainbow's impact comes from the namesake of the fund, Grace W. (who along with her sister Joy), were two of the very first scholarship recipients.

Grace and Joy with their children


Over twenty years ago, I arrived at Winnarainbow a very sad, scared, confused and at times angry eleven year-old child. I had been separated from my siblings and placed into foster care three years before and remnants of the physical abuse I endured in my early years still lingered with me. Three years in foster care had only compounded my fears and confusion. I had been placed in a home absent of love - no kisses, no hugs, and no reassurance.

I will never forget my first day at camp...my two sisters and I were reunited not just for a couple of hours, but a time where we would spend a whole month together - day and night.

In that next month, I stopped expecting the worst and instead for the first time in my life, I felt free to be a child. Besides learning to swim, stilt-walk and juggle, I also picked up life skills without even realizing it...how to channel my feelings of frustration and anger into more positive avenues...I learned to feel a connection not only to the Earth but to all who live on it... from stilt walking, juggling and African dance classes...I learned about trust and friendship...I learned how to let down my protective walls and just be a child having fun.


Grace graduated on to the Teen Staff leadership program, joined the camp supervisory staff, obtained a Masters in Social Work and is now a Librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library.


Learn how to apply for a scholarship here.