In December, “06880” proudly told the story of Jaime Bairaktaris.
The Staples High School senior/EMT/Earthplace teacher/photographer hoped to fulfill his dream. He wanted to go to Naples over spring vacation, volunteering in a program with young kids in a very rough neighborhood.
Westporters opened their hearts — and wallets. They helped Jaime raise funds for the trip, a journey he could never have done on his own.
It’s been the experience of a lifetime.
In addition to his work with the improverished children, Jamie snagged a seat at yesterday’s papal mass in St. Peter’s Square. He sat just 150 yards from Pope Francis.
The mass focused on youth. Jaime saw it as a sign, to help even more.
“Now that I’ve been working with La Tenda, I know how truly incredible they are,” Jaime says.
“They provide healthcare, food and shelter for the homeless and poor. Their education and after-school programs keep children safe, and give them opportunity for a great future. Some kids’ parents are in jail. Others don’t have enough to eat. La Tenda helps them all.”
Centro La Tenda — in an area notorious for drugs and crime — is in a building that began as a monastery, turned into a war hospital, and now serves as an oasis for those needing the most help.
“The people who work there are the absolute best,” Jaime says. “I get emotional even thinking about leaving them. The kids have so much character, in an area so tough to live in.”
GoFundMe — and Westport — helped Jaime get to Naples. Now he hopes it can help again.
He’s opened up his account, and is accepting donations through 7 a.m. EDT Friday. All funds will be handed over to La Tenda, to continue their work.
Jaime made the decision to do this yesterday, at the papal mass. He emailed “06880,” then clicked “send.”
Now all you have to do is click here, to help.