Sunday, February 15, 2009

Community Works Together To Help Child In Need

It might take a village to raise a child, but as exhibited by St. Joseph’s School in Mendham, the non-profit organization, Healing the Children, and the Sisters of Christian Charity, it takes the love and awareness of a single community to actually take care of one.

“We act as what we call host parents,” says Sister Immaculata Arboline of the Sisters of Christian Charity about taking in children that Healing the Children arranges for them, “Healing the Children will provide transportation to and from the hospital, and we’ll provide the room and board,” says Sister Immaculata.

The child in question is three year old Ismerlin Mercedes Vasquez, who came all the way from the Dominican Republic just to get treatment. Ismerlin is part of Healing the Children’s International Inbound program, where children are brought in from around the world for medical problems that are untreatable in their country, but may have a solution here.

“She was about 18 months old [when we first took her in]” says Sister Immaculata, who also took in another child named Samir last year from Egypt. “[This past time] was Ismerlin’s third time here,” she says.

Besides the room and board provided by the Sisters of Christian Charity and the transportation and search for doctors provided by Healing the Children, there’s also St. Joseph’s School in Mendham that helps in with the caring process

“What we do is collect different supplies that can help a child,” Helen Kelly, the principal of St. Joseph’s says, “Children and family bring in these needs during Catholic School’s Week.”

Along with the supplies, the children are also paired up in groups to design pillows for sick children.

“The students draw butterflies and rainbows,” Kelly says of the various designs the children draw on the pillowcases to cheer up sick patients, “they’re very beautifully decorated.”

None of this would even be possible though if not for Healing the Children, which has been in operation since 1979, and has had a Midlantic New Jersey chapter since 1981. Over the course of these 28 years, the Midlantic chapter has helped more than 20,000 children, some outside of the country, and some within it.

“A very big part of who we are is helping others,” Principal Kelly adds, “And [Healing the Children] is a wonderful organization.”

To learn more about Healing the Children, check out their website at

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