The T-shirts are identical -- but then again, so are the two 15-year-olds inside them.

The shirts say "Good Little Girls Go to Heaven; Bad Little Girls Go Everywhere." The girls say, in order: "Hi, I'm Sabrina," and "Hi, I'm Serena." Hi, you reply, and are you good girls or bad girls? "Oh, we're good," says Sabrina Higgins. "Got to be," adds Serena Higgins, her twin sister. "Camp made us that way."

What does going to camp mean if you're a lower middle-class kid from Robinson Place in Southeast Washington, like the Higgins sisters? Why should readers of Bob Levey's Washington help underprivileged kids from our community go to camp?

Sabrina and Serena Higgins can answer these questions from experience, because next month will mark the seventh year in a row they've attended a camp in the Virginia countryside run by Family and Child Services, Washington's oldest social welfare agency.

"It's the counselors. See, sometimes we have problems . . . ," says Sabrina.

". . . and they help us with our problems," says Serena, finishing her sister's sentence as only a twin could.

"If we were home . . . ," says Sabrina.

". . . we'd be shopping and spending a lot of money," says Serena.

"So we wanted to come back this year . . . "

". . . because they understand you a little better here."

Similar expert testimony comes from Lonnell Mitchell, a smiling 16-year-old from District Heights who is preparing for his sixth summer at camp.

Mitchell is quite the dapper dude. He wears a Playboy bunny figurine around his neck. His T-shirt bears his nickname, Spanky, in large white letters. Got a girl friend, Spanky? "Got no gripes," he says.

He doesn't have any with the camping experience, either.

"See, when I first came here, I was kinda like a shy person, know what I mean? But then I discovered that everywhere you went at camp, someone was there. You learn to get along with people. There's different people, and different things to do . . . .

"If I'd spent the summers in District Heights? Well, there's nothing to do but go up the street and play with your friends. That got to be kind of boring.

"You know, one of your friends would say, 'Hey, let's go play basketball,' and you'd say, 'Aw, man, we played basketball last week.'

"But the best thing about camp is your friends. At home, people move around, they move away. You come down to camp, you got people you knew last summer. You pick up right where you left off."

Sean (Happy) Wiggins, a 14-year-old who lives on M Street NE, says his six years as a camper have taught him the meaning of responsibility.

"Up here," he said, "they tell you to do something like make a fire or make your bed, and they expect you to do it. They don't bug you all the time to do it. They just tell you once, and then they walk away.

"That's being treated like an adult. And that's what I take home, too. How can you learn to take responsibility up here and not do the same thing at home?"

Happy Wiggins also likes the sense of community at camp.

"Up here, you learn what real friends are," he said. "Up here, we're just like a big family. I can't get enough. I really can't."

But the Happies and Spankies and Serena/Sabrinas of our city are more worried right now about getting any, rather than getting enough.

To send 1,228 kids to camp this summer, as we hope to do, we need to raise at least $124,000 by June 27.

In the week since we opened our Send a Kid to Camp campaign, contributions have only trickled. We need a surge, and we need it now. Otherwise, it will be a summer in the city for a lot of disappointed kids.

As the campers themselves note, going to camp provides the confidence and friendship that solidify our young people's values. That can only help our entire community, now and in the years to come.

I urge you to make a contribution today. Please make a check or money order payable to "Send a Kid to Camp" and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.