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Youth Empowerment Camp Saturday in Port Arthur promises STEM, basketball competition

Community service organization Frontliners is hosting its fifth Youth Empowerment Camp from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Port Arthur Recreation Center.

The event features haircuts, a STEM workshop and competition for students, workshops for parents, visits with Port Arthur police and firefighters, back-to-school giveaways and a basketball training session followed by 3-on-3 games with first responders refereed by Lamar State College Port Arthur basketball players.

Port Arthur native and 2005 Memorial High School graduate Chloe Jacobs will talk with parents about how they might navigate interactions with teachers, the school system and understand grading policies.

As an independent educational consultant, Jacobs works with parents, helping connect them to resources to become better partners in their children’s education, and she knows how tough being a parent and an educator can be.

“Most parents, as we know, have jobs. Once school’s in session and its time to talk with teachers and communicate, they’re at work, and that can be a barrier for them,” Jacobs said. “I believe that we’re partners — the educators as well as the parents. We’re partners in a child’s education, so I’m trying to find a way to help bridge that gap.”

Jacobs hopes parents come away from the workshop with a better understanding of how the school system works and what their children are learning.

“Some of the things that we see in education as basic are because we speak our own language in the field, things like what are standards, what are skills, who chooses what your children are taught in schools,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to interact with your child’s teacher, don’t be intimidated by the school. Being a partner in their child’s education is going to push that child so much further than they could imagine.”

Frontliners founders Colby and Tiffany Hamilton have worked years in community service, with their organization clocking more than 3,500 volunteer hours since 2017. For them it’s a way of life.

“Community service has been a part of our blood since we were children,” Tiffany Hamilton said.

Colby, remembering the impact Amateur Athletic Union basketball had on him growing up, began coaching his own AAU teams while sister Tiffany came to practices to tutor players to improve their grades. The connection with the children fostered a desire to help students achieve their goals in school.

“Once we started tutoring and coaching these children, we got to meet their families,” Tiffany said. “Sometimes these children will tell you their whole world.”

Tiffany hopes the Youth Empowerment Camp supports the community, provides mentorship for children, gets parents involved, informs and inspires leadership.

“Frontliners is an initiative of frontlining your life,” Tiffany said. “So don’t wait for someone else to do what you know you can do today. Be that leader.”