UT Dallas Honored for Kids’ University Partnership
University Prepares for 16th Summer of Inspiration and Fun at Learning Camp
Apr. 29, 2011
UT Dallas is preparing for the 16th annual Kids’ University, an educational summer day camp for Dallas’ homeless children.
Since the camps began in 1995, about 1,600 children have taken part in the weeklong sessions, which focus on positive life choices and academic support in a fun atmosphere. George Fair, dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, collaborated with Rainbow Days to create the camp almost two decades ago and continues as UT Dallas’ primary Kids’ University liaison.
“It seems like such a simple thing for most of us – to know what college is all about,” Fair said. “But many of these children have no concept of education beyond high school.
“Opening the UT Dallas campus to them shows them exciting possibilities for their own futures. By finishing their educations, they can become scientists, teachers, doctors and lawyers – the choices are limitless.”
Recently, nonprofit partner Rainbow Days, Inc., paused to honor the University for its commitment to the hundreds of children served by the camps.
Mary Brouillette (center), director of development and alumni relations for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, accepts the award from Rainbow Days Founder and CEO Cathey Brown, and executive board president Fred Halfpap.
UT Dallas was Rainbow Days’ 2011 Pot of Gold Honoree at the organization’s annual luncheon and fundraiser, which took place April 8 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas. Past honorees include Citi (formerly Citigroup), Yahoo!, The Betty Ford Center and AT&T.
Mary Brouillette, director of development and alumni relations for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, accepted the award for the University from Rainbow Days Founder and CEO Cathey Brown.
“UT Dallas has been a great partner with Kids’ University for 16 years,” Fred Halfpap, president of Rainbow Days’ executive board of directors, said. “Without their support we wouldn’t be able to put [the program] on.”
Over the years, Kids’ University changed as circumstances warranted. In summer 2006, a second session was added for the smallest victims of Hurricane Katrina. More recently, Kids’ University expanded to two sessions to meet the needs of children affected by the national economic downturn.
Kelly Wierzbinski, director of the Family Connection with Rainbow Days, has been with Kids’ University for all 16 years of its existence.
“The one thing that I never get tired of hearing each year is Dr. Fair inviting the children to come back to The University of Texas at Dallas,” she said. “He plants the seeds of the children having a purpose and inviting not the question, ‘Will you go to college?’ but ‘When you go to college…’”