Jaime Bairaktaris, The Pope, And The Kids

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.

Pope Francis, as photographed by Jaime Bairaktaris.

Pope Francis, as photographed by Jaime Bairaktaris.

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 children of La Tenda.

The children of La Tenda.

“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.

3 responses to “Jaime Bairaktaris, The Pope, And The Kids

  1. Theresa Bairaktaris

    I am so very proud of my son Jaime! The work he has accomplished in just 18 years of life is just unheard of. I want to personally thank everyone who has helped my son to continue on such an amazing journey. Thank you to my family & friends near and far. Of course the Westporters, this town has truly helped Jaime be able to help so many less fortunate. Thank you so very much! No better place to be a part of an amazing community. We are so very fortunate. Very proud Mom, Theresa Bairaktaris

  2. Dan Woog thank you very much for helping Jaime get his story out there.

  3. You are doing amazing work, Jaime!