Bokenkamp Children’s Shelter serves the needs of unaccompanied children in the hopes that with access to educational opportunities, shelter and legal resources, these children can be empowered to make their own way in life, whether that means returning to their home country, reunification with family or asylum in the United States.
Bokenkamp provides dormitory-style living, bilingual educational opportunities, computer instruction, outdoor recreation, crafts and hobbies, spiritual care and a number of activities that strive to foster a sense of normalcy for children who may never have enjoyed such stability in their very young lives.
Bokenkamp Children’s Shelter is a program of Lutheran Social Services of the South, Inc.
Children and young teens from virtually every nation in Central and South America make the dangerous trek to the United States, escaping deplorable conditions.
They bring nothing; some arrive barefoot, hungry and thirsty with only the clothes they have on. Some have family in the United States, while others have been sent by their own families in hopes they will escape civil war, the drug trade and poverty. Some travel thousands of miles alone, while most pay large sums of money to human traffickers to cross the border and find jobs. Undocumented and often unable to understand even rudimentary English, they risk falling victim to dangerous sweatshop labor, low wages and even sexual slavery.