Soccer events to aid recovery in Haiti - Catholic Courier

Soccer events to aid recovery in Haiti

When athletes in Tompkins County take the field for two upcoming events, their intent will go far beyond sports and recreation. They’ll also be supporting young earthquake victims in Haiti.

A soccer-skills training camp will take place Saturday, May 8, at Ithaca High School. Cost is $30 per participant and will include coaches and players from local colleges. The camp is open to male and female players at the recreation, travel and premier levels. A session for ages 9-14 will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, and another for ages 15-19 from 1 to 4 p.m. Included in the festivities will be a family fun day with vendors, silent auction, chicken barbecue and more.

Also in the works is a youth soccer tournament on Saturday, July 17. It will take place on approximately a dozen fields in the Ithaca area and is open to boys’ and girls’ teams ages 8-18 throughout the northeastern United States.

To register for either event, or for further information, visit www.reachoutgoalsforhaiti.org or call Rita Demarest at 607-592-3710 or Amelia Massi at 607-280-7892. Checks may be sent to All Saints Parish, 347 Ridge Road, Lansing, NY 14882, with "Reachout Haiti" designated in the memo section.

Proceeds from both events will help rebuild St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which was severely damaged by a massive earthquake on Jan. 12. This school and medical clinic is the only center of its kind in the country to treat children with special needs and perform special surgeries for eyes, ears and orthopedics.

Demarest and Massi, both members of Immaculate Conception Parish in Ithaca, are serving as co-organizers of the May 8 camp and July 17 tournament. They gave special credit to Father Scott Kubinski, pastor of All Saints; and the Rev. Philip W. Snyder, rector of St. John Episcopal Church, Ithaca, for their support in organizing the events.

"They are the two men who we have been able to rely on for any and all assistance," Demarest said.

This isn’t the first instance of Demarest and Massi spearheading a big project to help those in need. In 2005, as coordinators of Project Reachout2000, they oversaw the collection and delivery of a large truckload of donated items for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Project Reachout2000, an ecumenical group, began in 1998. The group also has performed relief projects to benefit homeless children in Ecuador; children in a leper colony founded by Mother Teresa; young victims of war in Nigeria; hurricane-stricken families in the Dominican Republic; and Tompkins County-area youths who received medical kits.

Demarest said she and Massi don’t plan their efforts far in advance, but instead respond to crises in the world as they arise such as the unplanned devastation in Haiti. Demarest added that the common thread in all their projects is enforcing the value of children helping children, and pointing out that all youths are basically the same even if their circumstances are different.

Creating this awareness "is imperative if we are to have a future generation of caring, loving and giving people," Demarest stated.

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