Tuesday, July 10, 2012

CAMP JAKE :: St. Paul's Music Director Goes To Haiti

Dr. Caroline Carson


July 3, 2012: Dr. Caroline Carson (pictured below), Director of Music at St. Paul’s Episcopal and Director of Choral Studies at The University of New Orleans, has the chance of a lifetime this July 2012. While she has traveled internationally and taught overseas in academic situations, Caroline jumped at the opportunity to go to and make a difference in the lives of others in a non- tourist location: Port-au-Prince, Haiti with the Red Thread Promise (www.redthreadpromise.org ). She applied and was accepted.

Why Haiti? Moving to New Orleans after Katrina and seeing the city re-grow over the past six years has helped her witness what a determined community can do with each others’ help. Working at St. Paul’s Episcopal for the past four years and volunteering with The Homecoming Center’s seniors program has shown her many opportunities for service and introduced her to the movers and shakers of service in New Orleans. After Caroline learned about the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she heard about The Red Thread Promise's work there. She wanted to do something....so she and the members of Inconspicuous 8, a local professional women’s choir, gave a benefit concert for the organization and its work. Since that time, she has kept a close eye on happenings in Haiti and approached Kathy Korge Albergate (President of The Red Thread Promise) and her husband, Rev. Dr. Scott Albergate (rector of St. Paul’s) about applying for the trip this July. Caroline is the second person from St. Paul’s to go to Haiti with the organization. The first was Mr. John Joseph, Sexton of St. Paul’s, in January 2011. In talking to Caroline about the trip, she says: “I’m absolutely thrilled to go and I know our team will have a blast with the kids. I believe it’s equally important to put your time where your mouth is when you say you want to make a difference...and I believe volunteering is something we all need to try and find time for.”

Camp Jake is an annual summer camp designed to meet the special needs of handicapped children from the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The team consists of 16 counselors and one photographer who will be working with 44 campers—who are blind, deaf or non-ambulatory - for a week on the Haitian coast. The children are from St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children. The camp removes physical and emotional barriers, giving participating children the chance to engage in creative arts, as well as physical and social activities under the supervision of a team of volunteer counselors, artists, musicians, mentors and healthcare professionals. Photo at left of Diana in her new all terrain wheelchair donated by Episcopal Church Women across the US.

"The concept for Camp Jake was inspired by my 13-year-old nephew, Jacob Richard, who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a degenerative terminal illness,” said Tom Landry II, director of Camp Jake and a member of The Red Thread board. “Our camp will bring Jacob's selfless, energetic spirit to the orphaned children of St. Vincent's. We believe every child deserves the most life has to offer, regardless of disability, class, race or circumstance. Camp Jake will assure that physical limitations are left behind and replaced with endless opportunities for emotional and physical development in a fun-filled atmosphere."

The Red Thread Promise (TRTP) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide hope and healing for needy and orphaned children—children who have no one to advocate for them and cannot advocate for themselves. Our program exists to improve the quality of life for these children. We provide them with the treatment they need so that they can each lead a life with dignity, health and hope. Find us online at www.redthreadpromise.org. Follow us on Facebook: The Red Thread Promise or on Twitter: Red Thread Promise.

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