Tuesday, January 29, 2013

HAITI :: Calling all camp counselors!

The following letter was sent to potential Camp Jake counselors this past week. If you are interested in becoming a counselor for the 2013 session of Camp Jake and did not receive a letter, please read below. We welcome all applicants!

Thank you for your interest in joining The Red Thread Promise as a counselor at Camp Jake, July 2013.

Camp Jake is an extraordinary summer camp where disabled Haitian children and teens are given the opportunity to move beyond their disabilities in a fun and compassionate environment, discovering and nurturing their own innate abilities. Each camper is given the opportunity to engage in cultural exchanges with counselors, sports, aquatics, creative arts, music and physical therapy at Kaliko Beach Club, located in Montrouis on the Northern coast of Haiti. Carefully selected activities are geared toward campers developing new life skills and experiences that impart greater self-confidence and self-esteem, with a focus on the campers’ future integration into the greater Haitian society.

The Red Thread’s first Camp Jake was held in January 2012, followed by another session in July 2012, each a success! Our campers continue to build on past experiences at Camp Jake and are excited about our next session. Camp Jake 2013 will host 50+ campers and with that we require 14-16 extraordinary counselors with varying backgrounds.

Given the harsh conditions of the Haitian environment and the many disabilities of our campers, we require our counselors to have the following characteristics:

  • Empathy and compassion for both campers and their 
  • Reliability and responsibility
  • Patience with campers and other counselors
  • Motivation
  • Ability to follow detailed instructions
  • Ability to multi-task in a high stress environment with sudden and expected changes
  • Be physically fit with the ability to lift 75 lbs.
  • Ability to work in temperatures exceeding 90F / 32C
  • Ability to swim in both pool and sea
  • A youthful outlook
  • Energetic and gregarious personality
  • Sense of humor
In addition to the above qualities, we look for candidates that have experience in the arts, sports, aquatics, French, ASL, physical therapy and those with CPR / lifeguarding certification.

Camp Jake 2013 will require counselors to depart the US from their respective cities on July 10, 2013 and return on July 21, 2013.  All counselors share the same flight into and departing from Haiti. The time includes an 8 day camp, a full day of training before the camp and time to recuperate following the camp.

Our fundraising efforts for the July camp will begin in February and we hope to be able to subsidize the costs of the counselors’ airfare to and from Haiti as we have for the past camps at an average cost of $900.00 per person. All remaining fees (estimated at $1,500 per counselor) are the responsibility of the counselor and must be paid in accordance with a schedule provided by The Red Thread Promise upon acceptance into the program. These remaining costs will cover all ground transportation, accommodations at the hotels in Port-au-Prince and Kaliko Beach Club and meals during the trip. The total cost per counselor is approximately $2,500.00 before any applicable subsidization.

If you plan to do fundraising for your own trip expenses, we will gladly assist you in your efforts over the next several months. Please inquire when you send your completed application and I will contact you to discuss your ideas as well as those used by previous counselors successfully. We encourage all to apply and let us help you through fundraising.  While it may seem daunting task, it can be fun and a highly rewarding experience.

If you would like an application to be a counselor at Camp Jake July 2013, we ask that you contact Kathy Korge Albergate by phone at 817.320.6522 or email at kathy@redthreadpromise.org.  If you have any questions regarding the camp or being a counselor, please contact Tom Landry, Camp Jake Director at tom@redthreadpromise.org.

Given the number of applications we receive for counselor positions, we encourage you to return your Request for Application by February 20, 2013. Upon receipt of your completed application, a formal time-line will be provided for conference calls and fees. Please note that late applications cannot be considered for this session due to the logistical nature of this camp.

Questions and additional inquiries welcome!

Thank you.
Tom Landry, Camp Jake, Director
Kathy Korge Albergate, President, Founder

About Jake Richard, Camp Jake namesakeJake is a vibrant teenager with Duchenne Musclular Dystrophy, a rare and progressive disease that involves rapid degeneration of the muscles with a life expectancy in the late teens. Jake’s dream is to provide a unique summer experience for children with disabilities like his own in a supportive, barrier-free environment. Jake participates in the planning of camp activities and engages the campers via Skype.

HAITI :: 1/5th of the way there!

Beautiful Diana in her Red Thread wheelchair!
While it may be an unlikely name for a blog post, it couldn't be more true today. We are 1/5th of way to funding a full container of All Terrain Wheelchairs (ATWs) for Haiti and we couldn't be more thrilled! 

Yesterday we received a $7,000 grant from the Lukens Fund of The Columbus Foundation toward this project. We are so grateful for this amazing gift! When added to the funds already received for the wheelchairs, we now have over $10,000 designated specifically to Haiti.

A full container holds 100 - 120 ATWs (depending on the wheelchair sizes specified). This comes at a total price of $45,000—approximately $350 per chair—which, in the world of specialty wheelchairs, is extremely reasonable. Yet, as we have shown in previous blog posts, the chairs are durable and easy to maintain and repair. We continue to check up on the chairs with each trip to Haiti, bringing replacement parts as necessary to keep the chairs in good working condition for years.

It is your generosity that has helped us come this far and your continued support that will allow us to completely fund a full container—a container that will change the lives of many Haitians with disabilities, like Diana, one of our first wheelchair recipients. 

Please consider sharing this project with your co-workers, friends and family as we can make a difference together! As always, donations can be made via PayPal or check. All info is in the right sidebar.

HAITI :: Video accolades!

We have exciting news to share! 

Do you remember the beautiful video that Tell Collective (formerly BE Productions) shot for us, visualizing the story of The Red Thread's work in Haiti? We just found out that the video won an Addy in the Public Service category in 2012! 

What's an Addy you might ask? Per the American Advertising Federation's website: "The ADDY® Awards honor advertising's best & brightest. The awards represent the true spirit of creative excellence by recognizing all forms of advertising from media of all types, creative by all sizes and entrants of all levels from anywhere in the world." 

We are humbled that our work, so beautifully captured by Tell Collective, won this award. If you haven't seen the vide or just need a refresher, please watch. 

Here's the story behind the video and the men who made it happen.
Bob, director extraordinaire
Al and some of his assistants!
A heartfelt thanks again to Tell Collective for their work on this dynamic piece!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

HAITI :: Gearing up for Camp Jake 2013

(photo by Howard Chen)

If you haven't heard of Camp Jake
it's about time you did! 

Camp Jake is an annual camp for residents of St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Haiti. The summer of 2013 marks the 3rd camp experience for this dynamic group of children living in the heart of Port-au-Prince. 

  • For one week, children and youth with varying handicaps are sheltered from the social stigma surrounding them in their own country. 
  • For one week, campers are allowed to express themselves freely and creatively through music, art, sports, aquatics and a myriad of other avenues. 
  • For one week they each take part in occupational and physical therapy, expand on personal hygiene, and learn new career-building skills
  • Most importantly, for one week they learn to love and accept themselves for who they are—limitations and all—and experience that love and respect reciprocated by Camp Jake counselors. 

This summer experience for disabled children is as unique as the young man who envisioned it, Jake Richard. Jake's dream to provide a camp for those less fortunate than himself was realized through The Red Thread Promise in 2012 with 2 camps! As we embark on our 3rd adventure, we'd like to share this little book memorializing special moments from Camp Jake / July 2012. Enjoy!

We look forward to sharing our progress as plans are made for this summer's Camp Jake. If you would like more information about this dynamic program or are interested in volunteering as a counselor, please contact Tom@redthreadpromise.org. If you or your organization is interested in supporting Camp Jake through a financial gift, please contact Kathy@redthreadpromise.org for giving opportunities.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

HAITI :: Birthday Greetings

"Not-so-little-anymore" Christopher!
One of the many highlights of our work is receiving updates on the children we have supported over the years. Last week Christopher's forever family shared a video of him saying a prayer. This week TRTP President, Kathy, received a personalized birthday greeting from him. 

What a wonderful surprise when she opened her Facebook account to see his smiling face wishing her well. While it wasn't really her birthday (a Facebook date of birth glitch), Kathy stated "I would have a birthday every month if it meant getting something this special. Thank you, Christopher. You made my day!"

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

HAITI :: A prayer for 2013

Remember Christopher, the angel that graced so many of our blog posts during his time in Haiti and the US? Here is our 4-year-old little man offering a prayer in "Crenglish" (his own unique blend of Creole and English). You might just catch: "Jesus, thank you, food, iTouch, TV, love, amen" but your guess is as good as ours. He is still the apple of our eye and we are so thankful to share this peek of him with his forever family in the dawn of a new year. Happy 2013 to all of the children we have worked with, our donors and volunteers. We look forward to your continued support in the coming months as we expand our work in China, Haiti and the US.