Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A great weekend

Tom, Shawn and Jake with his award

Any weekend with 2 celebrations is a good one in The Red Thread's book.

Not only did we celebrate Memorial Day to honor  those who have served our country both past and present, but Jacob—namesake for Camp Jake—graduated from the 8th grade. Jake was recognized by the Vice Principal of his school with an award for "his absolute patience and perseverance against all odds." 

Congrats to Jake on a great accomplishment and THANK YOU to all of the men and woman who have and continue to serve our country.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

St. John's supports our wheelchair program

A big thank you goes out to The Church of St. John's in the Village, New York City, for naming The Red Thread Promise it's 2012 Lenten beneficiary.

St. John's learned about The Red Thread from watching our PBS segment in January, 2012. Not long after the story aired, St. John's contacted Kathy who jumped at the opportunity to visit New York City. She met with the church's Outreach Committee and shared details about TRTP's domestic and international work.

One of St. John's bulletin boards

The committee later selected our All Terrain Wheelchair program as part of the church's Lenten journey and set to work sharing information with parishioners via word-of-mouth, internal and external bulletin boards and their website. The church began receiving donations on our behalf, raising funds for the maintenance and upkeep of our All Terrain Wheelchairs.

On May 13th, Kathy and husband, The Reverend Dr. Scott Albergate, visited St. John's to receive a check for $4,500 during their worship service. A beautiful prayer was offered at the dedication of the check that we'd like to share:

"I ask your prayers for peace; for goodwill among nations; 
and for the well-being of all people. Pray for the people of Haiti, 
especially all injured children, and for those working in 
The Red Thread project, that the most vulnerable of your people 
in this troubled land may be restored to fullness of life. 
Pray for peace and justice."

We are humbled that St. John's would think of The Red Thread's work during the holy season of Lent and are thrilled to share that a portion of their funds have already been put to their intended use. Kathy and Tom recently returned from Haiti where they worked with the employees of St. Vincent's on our wheelchairs.

We thank the parishioners and supports of The Church of St. John's in the Village and appreciate all they are doing to make the lives of disabled people in Haiti better.

Working on the wheelchairs

Monday, May 21, 2012

A little bit of fame!

Will you look at that! It's our friend JoJo with Haitian President Michel "Sweet Mickey" Martelly and the First Lady. Check out what he's wearing: our very own Camp Jake shirt! We couldn't ask for better PR even if we tried!

Remembering Jacob

Remembering sweet Jacob Noah Beachy today. Eight years ago we were blessed to find this new little soul here on earth. We are honored to have his name on our US program: Jacob's Fund. Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives he touched while he was with us as well as those his spirit touches every time we award a scholarship for hippotherapy or therapeutic riding in his name.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Back in Haiti again

Flag Day celebration

Yesterday The Red Thread team embarked on our second trip of the year to visit and work with our friends in Haiti. Following a redeye flight for Kathy and Tom, the two met up in Miami and flew in to Port-au-Prince together. After settling into the hotel, a meeting and dinner, they went their separate ways to rest up and prepare for the busyness of today, when the real work began.

Tom and a St. Vincent's student

First on the agenda was visiting St. Vincent's where we found out that Tom is quite the kid-magnet! Students of all ages were coming out of the woodwork to greet and hug him, happily posing for pictures, especially those from Camp Jake. To our surprise the kids were preparing for Flag Day. Each had made his or her own Haitian flag and was proudly displaying it in the classrooms, around the grounds and during a ceremony in the courtyard which the team happily observed.

Then Kathy and Tom got down to work, meeting with Fr. Sadoni, Director of St. Vincent's, for a long meeting covering a multitude of topics including: 

  • the rebuilding of the school
  • creation of a much-needed computer lab
  • setting up routine All Terrain Wheelchairs (ATWs) maintenance and repair
  • computer accessibility in the pharmacy
  • the release of the handicap-accessible van from customs
  • the soon to be unveiled St. Vincent's logo (designed by TRTP's Vice President, Sonya) 
  • the upcoming session of Camp Jake, the campers and the caregivers


Computer Lab

Fr. Sadoni was very excited to hear that The Red Thread is working to secure 20 computers to be sent to St. Vincent's in order to set up a much-needed computer lab for students! To top it off, we were excited to learn that our main concern—that of consistent power to run the computers—has already been addressed. A new electrical breaker has been installed on the grounds that provides uninterrupted power in the classrooms and offices. A dedicated, secure space will be prepared to set up a fully functioning computer lab in the school. The Red Thread team will then travel to St. Vincent's to help set up the lab and do some of the initial training of lab workers and older students who will mentor the younger ones as they learn to use the computers. What a blessing!

All Terrain Wheelchairs (ATWs)

One of the things that makes The Red Thread stand out from the "drop it and run" relief organizations is our commitment to the people we serve and the supplies that we send. With each trip, we check on those using our wheelchairs as well as the chairs themselves, looking for signs of wear and tear, making sure they are in good working order, talking to the people using the chairs to provide input, always on the lookout for areas of improvement. 

 Kathy surrounded by workers from the prosthetics shop

 Inserting the new tubes

 Testing out the tire pumps

Making sure everything is in good order!

During our trip in January 2012, we noted that some of the tires weren't holding air as well as anticipated. After much research, Kathy secured alternate tubes as well as several different kinds of pumps for the St. Vincent's crew to try. Kathy and Tom worked hand-in-hand with the St. Vincent's team to change out many of the tubes with the new ones and tested all of the air pumps. Scheduled maintenance has been set up and will be done on the chairs every 2 weeks to ensure that they are always in top working order for their owners. After determining if these tubes hold air better than the originals, we will order new tubes for all of the wheelchairs.

Camp Jake

Tomorrow is the big day for Camp Jake. The team will scout 2 new locations to see if there is another facility with better accessibility for those in wheelchairs. They will also be spending time looking for Haitian markets where more of the camp supplies can be purchased in-country, instead of purchasing everything in the US and carrying it in. We are always looking for ways to save money without sacrificing quality.

As details were ironed out and plans discussed for all of these projects, that red thread of destiny was revealed again. Our team felt a spine-tingling connection to the administration, staff and students of St. Vincent's. We know we are in this for the long haul. We hope you are too. Join us during this journey of providing hope and healing to some of Haiti's most vulnerable children. Through your financial support and volunteerism we can and are making a difference in the lives of these kids.

Fr. Sadoni and Tom

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

CHINA :: A face every Mother will love, on Mother's Day and beyond

Oh, will you look at that face! With plump cheeks, soft spiky hair and a smashing smile, this is the face of a post-surgical child who is thriving! We are so grateful to be a part of her life and care and invite you to honor your own Mother by helping us support Baby XX.

Instead of flowers or candy, why not help us support this darling little girl in Mom's name this Mother's Day? For $125 per month, together we can provide for Baby XX's nanny as well as her medical needs, food and clothing. We'll gladly send a card to Mom explaining how your donation is helping this little girl following her spina bifida surgery. 

If you are interested in supporting Baby XX, donations in any amount can be made online through our PayPal link in the right sidebar or sent via check to:
The Red Thread Promise
20 Brookfield Avenue
Glen Rock, NJ 07452

Be sure to write Mother's Day / Baby XX in the memo line. Provide Mom's name and address and we'll send her a card to commemorate your generosity.

With your help, we can make a difference in the life of this beautiful child and others like her forever.