MARYLAND

Mid-Atlantic Burn Camp book drive

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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) -- Tyzeona Austin was just five years old when an hot oil accident in the kitchen burned part of her right arm.

"The firefighters came, they flew me in a helicopter to the children's hospital, and after that, I don't really remember," she explains.

But today, Austin's smile outshines her scars.

"I'm okay with showing it off, I'm okay with just sharing, anytime," she says.

She says her self-confidence grew by attending the Mid-Atlantic Burn Camp, where she is planning to return for the eighth time this coming weekend. Austin says she likes to go back to meet new people and hear their stories.

Tonas Kalil is the director of the camp, and says:

"We'll take any child, but the ones that we focus on are kids that were hospitalized for their burn injury, that have some kind of scarring and therefore issues related to their injury."

The week-long camp is free for participants, and begins this Sunday. But before the kids arrive, the Montgomery County State's Attorney's office wants them to have plenty of reading material. Now, the Judicial Center in Rockville has become the site of a book drive.

Even though summer is a time to let loose, education is still a priority at Mid-Atlantic Burn Camp, where reading is part of the daily activities.

Assistant State's Attorney Julia Cardozo says her time working with the campers encouraged her to do even more for them, which also got her colleagues involved.

"They inspire me, given what they've gone through and their positive outlook on life," she says about the children.

Silver Spring resident Marquise Gallmon first attended the camp at age eight. He learned to canoe and how to ride a horse, and most importantly, he came out with this life lesson:

"Everybody's different and everyone handles situations differently, and I have to be considerate of others."

 

To learn more, visit the camp website: http://www.midatlanticburncamp.org/

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