Yolene in the ocean and loving every moment!
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:
- Various sports, including basketball, soccer, Frisbee golf and swimming encouraged physical activity and helped develop gross motor skills even to those who are wheelchair-bound. We even offered physical outlets for the blind with walks along the beach, swimming, and playing with a 60" inflatable ball!
- Personal hygiene lessons were given along with large bags of products for each student to keep. From brushing their teeth, to proper and frequent hand-washing, to use of deodorant and mouthwash, campers learned many techniques to stay healthy and clean.
- Art programs facilitated by an art therapist helped campers hone fine motor skills and gave each the opportunity to express themselves in a creative environment.
- Moving about the large facility offered additional opportunities for exercise, running and playing, little comforts that are next to impossible in their daily environment in Port-au-Prince.
- Ample healthy food choices were available as well as fresh water and fresh-squeezed juices to boost the children's immune systems.
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.
Blind campers playing with the huge ball
Learning how to use personal hygiene products
Salsa dance lessons