Town Crier: Montclair mom’s charity sponsors Haitian children


MONTCLARION: October 23

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. — Mother Teresa

These are more than just words to American Airlines employee Brenda Staley. The Montclair mom actually uses her flight benefits to help run her charity — Futures4Haiti.

Staley first started flying to Port-au-Prince in 1993.

“The resilient nature of the Haitian people blew me away, and I was drawn to help,” she remembers.

Education seemed to be the best place to start. Staley and her friends started by paying for one child’s tuition. Today — some 20 years later — they sponsor 20 students.

“We try to choose children who we feel will use their education to better their community,” Staley says.

She says one little girl was so determined, she followed Staley around for days, helping her enroll other kids in the program.

“She is so bright and driven, and I have no doubt that she will create a better future for herself and her family.”

Staley and her associate, Chris Clark, travel to Haiti three to four times a year. Other flight attendants and friends help deliver donated goods and school supplies. Their goal is simple — to keep the kids in school, learning English and other skills that can help them find work in a growing tourism market in Port-au-Prince.

Here’s a fun way that you can be involved. The popular jazz group “JetBlacq” is playing a benefit house concert in Piedmont on Nov. 4. Proceeds ($30 per ticket) will help pay for tuition and school supplies. Get tickets and more information at www.futures4haiti.org.

Digging deep: The merry band of weed wackers who helped Wendy Tokuda clear a hills PAL (Police Activities League) camp on Oct. 10 have weighed in with results. They filled 10 dump trucks with dead broom so that kids can play safely in the park at Skyline Boulevard near Redwood Bowl.

PAL Executive Director Mildred Oliver says Himalayan blackberry vines were choking off the basketball courts and making a dangerous thicket.

“The overgrowth made it possible for wild animals — but more importantly, people — to hide in proximity to where the children played and slept,” Oliver says.

Congratulations to Tokuda and her volunteer crew. Now, the Scouts and Explorers can have overnights there next month.

Email bag: Things are just ducky down at the Highway 13 offramp in Montclair. Readers Bob and Phyllis Cohen say someone is putting rubber duckies into the green section of the stoplight as you turn left onto Thornhill. First it was a yellow ducky, soon replaced by a pair of white ones. Does anyone know who the “mother” is? People are quacking up over this latest attempt at urban art.

Squash talk: What self-respecting ghoul (or boy) would stay home on the Friday before Halloween? Reader Diane Hill says the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland is having a concert on Oct. 30 that will feature favorite Halloween tunes on — what else — the magnificent Rosales Organ, Opus 16. Come in costume at 7 p.m. and rock out to “Phantom of the Opera.” For more information, go to www.firstchurchoakland.org.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at ginnyprior@hotmail.com or on the web at www.ginnyprior.com.

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