Scottie’s Place is a nonprofit organization with the mission to empower and educate children affected by poverty and conflict. Programs assist children and youth to overcome trauma, develop life skills, and prepare for a positive future.
Scottie’s Place was founded in 1999, by the husband-wife team of Paul Winter and Jo-El Wadsworth as a special-needs camp for children affected by homelessness. By combining the therapeutic concepts of special-needs programs with the thrill of wilderness adventure, Scottie’s Place helps children regain control of their lives. Since 1999, Scottie’s Place has served over five hundred children from homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and disadvantaged families, providing academic and challenge-based programs for children from five states and Washington, D.C.
Now, Scottie’s Place is also collaborating with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to bring high-impact education to girls trapped in refugee camps in Africa. In 2012, as part of an expansion of services to the world’s most vulnerable children, Founding Director Paul Winter and colleague Matthew Vincent embarked on a two-month needs assessment throughout five refugee camps in Africa to learn how Scottie’s Place could leverage its experience with disadvantaged children to contribute to the protection and education of refugee girls. Upon completion, Scottie's Place launched its global initiative, the Vulnerable Scholars Program (VSP), to assist academically talented girls who are at risk in regions of crisis and conflict.
VSP is committed tomaximizing the educational and career trajectories of high-achieving refugee girls. As part of a global effort to break generational cycles of conflict utilizing the massive potential of women, the mission of VSP is to develop leadership capacity among female students, promote community-driven solutions to displacement, and empower young women with the knowledge and resources to play a leading role in the reconstruction and peace building of their communities. Scottie’s Place is partnering with UNHCR and education-based organizations to bring VSP to the Dukwi refugee camp in Botswana, the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, and the Kiziba refugee camp in Rwanda.