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Tuckahoe Summer Camp Benefits Kids and a Volunteer

TUCKAHOE, N.Y. - When 31 active kids are angling for a cool treat on a hot summer day, the  best thing to do is to try and establish a little bit of order. At the Carvel ice cream store in Tuckahoe, a woman wearing a hat tried to do just that.

“Make two lines!” she shouted.

Minutes later, even though no lines were formed, she asked a bit less loudly, “Who wants chocolate?”

Trudy Gunther, 45, is a volunteer of “Books & Beyond,” a summer camp conducted by the Eastchester Community Action Program in Tuckahoe.

On a warm day in mid-July, the kids had arrived at Carvel from a cruise around Manhattan, and their memories were still fresh from the many places they’d seen from the boat: “Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge, …”

“The waves were really pretty,” said 8-year-old Ashley Brown, who attends Tuckahoe Elementary School.

Daron Williams, 11, also from Tuckahoe, said he was having fun in the summer camp.

“We go outside almost every day,” he said, adding that inside activities consisted mostly of reading, writing and math.

But it’s not only the kids that the program is benefiting. Gunther, a single mother of three, said that contact with children is helping her to heal from a recent depression.

“To see their faces and their excitement, it makes me feel better,” she said.

Back in the program’s building at Main Street, Gunther quizzed the kids on the trip. Then she sat down, visibly tired, but not so much as to prevent one of them from jumping onto her lap.

“She is respectful to the kids,” said Ashley in the evening, already riding her pink bicycle next to Tuckahoe School’s basketball courts. “She is not the yelling type.”

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