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Pay It Forward – Keeping kids off the street with summer camp activities

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ST. LOUIS – Having fun and an education during the summer is what Velma Bailey is all about. She started Camp Sunsplash at Fairground Park six years ago. Bailey’s friend, Lynn Holler, nominated her for the Pay It Forward award and surprised Bailey with the honor when she arrived at the park.

For six weeks in the summer, 50 youngsters are treated to swimming, exercise classes, art classes, plus breakfast and lunch every day; all for free.

This joyous camp was born out of tragedy. Bailey launched Camp Sunsplash in 2011 after a young person in her neighborhood was murdered after school.

As a former member of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen and a teacher for 29 years, Bailey has connections and resources to find free field trips and social activities all geared toward structure and discipline to keep young people out of trouble.

The Pay It Forward Award is brought to you by First Bank. If you know of someone deserving of the award, go to our Pay It Forward page on