For so many of us, the holiday season—from Thanksgiving to New Years—holds much joy, laughter and hope. Our busy schedules often welcome: spending quality time with family and friends; sharing bountiful feasts; celebrating at endless parties and family get togethers; giving gifts to those we love and care for; making resolutions to become better people in the coming months; and counting our seemingly endless blessings.For others, the holidays bring something very different. It may be a time of sadness, loneliness and depression, especially for those with no home to return to. It may be a time of growling stomaches and empty hands for those who have been orphaned by circumstances beyond their control. It is these people—those who have forged a permanent place in our hearts—that we remembered this Christmas day.In recent months you've read blog posts about the food crisis at St. Vincent's Center for Handicapped Children (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) and our combined efforts to provide a constant source of food for the kids. Through Global Giving and our website, we are conducting an on-going food drive to ensure that the children are once again able to receive 3 meals a day. This Christmas, we wanted to make sure every person with the last name "Vincent" (the sir name for many of the permanent residents) and staff was reminded that they are each loved and cared about. On December 25, 2012, The Red Thread Promise set out a feast within the gates of St. Vincent's. With the hard work of Jonas, our all-around-handy-Haitian-friend, and his fiancé, Nathalie, the tables were set with traditional food of every sort, ensuring that every child would have something they like. (So much food was provided that there was a shortage of tables!) Here are a few of the many thank you's from the kids:Merry Christmas and happy new year 2013! Que dieu vows protege. (May God bless you)~ KensonMerry Christmas! Thank you for the pretty dinner you give the Jonas. Makes for we everybody very happy. God bless you.~ Marie Carmelle, your friendThank you so much for dinner. ~ Moise & Maille & ZacharieHi, happy new year 2013 and thanks for diner. My God keeps you safe. ~ RosanaI send you a package full of joy, peace, love and health.Merry Christmas. Thanks for all, God bless you! ~ Dieumene10000 thanks for the diner and 11000 thanks for the cake. I'm happy you remember my birthday. ~ Marie LineThank you for your support of this program. Having sufficient food is a right, not a privilege.
Imagine yourself being an active participant in turning a crisis into a miracle. THAT'S WHAT WE ARE OFFERING YOU TODAY.
We recently found out that St. Vincent's Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti is in dire circumstances. Simply stated, ST. VINCENT’S NEEDS FOOD. This includes the orphans and their caregivers, boarding and day students, as well as the teaching and administrative staff.
The food donor that has sustained the St. Vincent's for the past school year abruptly ended its food distributions all over Haiti at the end of September 2012. With limited resources, only two feasible options have been identified for St. Vincent's to sustain itself if a new food donor is not secured:
In either scenario, children who would normally board in the dormitory will, more than likely, no longer be able to go to school due to the distance between their homes and St. Vincent's. And, many may go without food at all. This effects not only their physical well-being but also greatly limits, if not eliminates, any educational opportunities that may be near their homes as most schools in Haiti can not take children with disabilities.
YOU can be the difference for these children. This is a wonderful opportunity for our supporters to touch young lives in a critical way.
The cost of 3 meals a day for a single person is only $2.00. That’s less than an average cup of coffee from a gourmet coffee shop. We've done the math to see how far your gift can go:
Thank you for caring for these exceptional kids. Together, we can make sure every child has nutritious food and a full belly, allowing them to learn at their full capacity in school.
For the second time in 2012, The Red Thread Promise offered a camp specifically designed for disabled children in Haiti. Our team took 44 campers -- with conditions ranging from blind to deaf to non-ambulatory -- to Camp Jake for a life-changing 7 day experience. A diverse group of 14 counselors from VA, TX, OH, LA, and GA brought a variety of talents to the table, providing campers with many opportunities for exercise, nutrition, physical therapy, personal growth, music and art therapy intertwined with a load of fun!
Multiple languages were spoken to ensure that everyone could participate in all activities according to their abilities: English, French, Kreyol, American Sign Language (ASL) and even a bit of Spanish! Each counselor was paired with a small group of campers, building strong bonds and trust throughout the week.
Campers were given a choice of foods during three nutritious meals every day to energize them for hours spent swimming in the pool and ocean, playing games of soccer, frisbee and beach ball, jumping rope, and shooting hoops.
A certified physical therapist worked with multiple campers throughout the week, teaching exercises to reduce pain, strengthen muscles, increase mobility and develop independence. An art therapist worked with campers of all abilities creating 3D masks of their own faces, creating cards and learning the art of Zentangle to refine fine motor skills and develop relaxation techniques.
But perhaps the most profound therapy was experienced by every camper and counselor, regardless of age, gender or ability: an activity that transcends the language and socio-economic barriers that separate us: music. Regardless of ability, everyone was able to participate, from singing, playing percussion and guitar, clapping, and humming. Non-ambulatory children found the strength to pull themselves out of their wheelchairs to dance; the blind jumped, clapped and sang; even the deaf joined in on percussion, music they could feel down to their core.
Cultural exchanges were made as we translated European folktales into Kreyol for the blind and baked fresh chocolate chip cookies, an American favorite.
It was a transformative week, not only for campers but also the counselors. No eye was dry when we said our goodbyes. Our team is counting the days until the next session of Camp Jake.
We are excited to share that both planning and fundraising are in full swing for our 2nd Camp Jake in July of 2012. Camp Jake is a week-long event for disabled children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
As we shared in our last Global Giving report, the January session was life-changing for both participants and volunteer counselors. During the upcoming camp, we plan to capitalize on the strengths of the first session while introducing new programming for returning campers.
Between 30 - 40 special needs children and youth will leave the congested, dusty capital city and go to the coast where they will enjoy the fresh air and ample space to move about. Twelve to fifteen counselors will provide a week of new experiences, relationship-building opportunities, personal hygeine lessons and art therapy.
Swimming, dancing, beach ball games, basketball, frisbee and other sports will keep the kids active, develop gross motor skills and provide opportunities for team-building. Card and board games, fine art and craft projects, music and movies provide avenues for fine motor skill development, social interaction and entertainment. Children will experience simple amenities that aren't common in most Haitian homes, such as a comfortable bed, a warm shower and working toilet. Campers will enjoy three nutritious meals a day during which they have food and drink choices, a rare occasion for those living in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
For $975, one camper can experience this life-changing week filled with opportunities for personal growth, skill-building, and transformation of disability into ability. But most of all, for one week, children get to live free from stares, jeers, criticisms and the social stigma surrounding people with handicaps in Haiti. For seven luxurious days, they are free: free to learn, to grow and to be themselves.
Give a child hope by supporting Camp Jake today. Any size gift—from $10 to $10,000—is appreciated. Your support allows us to include more campers and improve our programming.
We encourage you to follow our blog for the most up-to-date information about Camp Jake as it draws nearer: www.redthreadpromise.org.
From health education, to personal hygiene, to ample food and fresh water, to medication, to good mental health, to doctor's visits and surgery, The Red Thread Promise considers a child's entire being when we think of medical care. As a result of this wholistic approach to health care, we are proud to share our success with Camp Jake, the first camp for handicapped children in Haiti.
In January 2012, we took 33 special needs campers from St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in the heart of Port-au-Prince to a beautiful location near Montrious, nearly 2 hours outside the city. The beautiful environment on the coast was invigorating to the excited participants, some having never left the city during their lifetime until then.
Many activities and programs were planned for the children throughout the week to encourage well-being and good health, including:
We discovered that children we previously thought could not talk or communicate were able to do so, even if only on a limited basis. Those we knew as needing help eating tried to feed themselves. Everyone stepped out of their comfort zone to try something new. Campers shared their hopes and dreams with the counselors and, through their input, are helping us to the mold the next Camp Jake that will be held in July 2012.
In July, we will build on the personal hygiene education began in January, checking on their teeth brushing skills, observing if they remember to wash their hands, etc. We will also offer additional opportunities for living healthier lifestyles even within the confines of their everyday environment and begin offering career skill-building activities to help students become independent adults.
As always, we thank our Global Giving donors for blessing us with this opportunity to work with these exceptional children, providing them with love, healthcare and HOPE.
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