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UMCOR Bright Spots

IN TODAY'S ISSUE
July 05, 2007

Red Arrow-gift "Just Add Music" for Community Rebuilding
Red Arrow-gift"We've Just Got to Get Help for Miss Levita"
Red Arrow-giftThis Week's Quote
Red Arrow-giftRecovery Stats
Red Arrow-giftContinuing Recovery in Pearlington (Slide Show)

"JUST ADD MUSIC" FOR COMMUNITY REBUILDING

By Susan J. Meister, Gulf Coast Communications

Rebuilding a community doesn't always require sheet rock, studs or roofing shingles. As retired California pastor Sargent Wright might say, sometimes you just need to add some music.

Wright and the Carmichael Kiwanis Club, Sacramento, Calif., partnered with Trent Strasborg and his Metarie, La., club, the Dawn Busters, to replace band instruments lost to Hurricane Katrina.

More than 100 band instruments were delivered to North Rampart Community Center in New Orleans in early June.

More than 100 band instruments were delivered to North Rampart Community Center in New Orleans in early June.
Susan Meister/UMCOR

"My own appreciation for music started with piano lessons at age six," Wright explained, and it continued through university, military service and church membership to the present. "School kids need the opportunity to experience musical appreciation in their lives," he said. "A school band adds spirit to the whole school."

Over 100 instruments delivered to New Orleans

In early June, Wright traveled to the North Rampart Street Community Center (formerly St. Mark's) in New Orleans to present 100 instruments collected in the Sacramento area. Later in the month, Keith Hart, band director at the KIPP School, tutored students on proper technique. KIPP--also known as the Knowledge Is Power Program--is a New Orleans charter school.

Young musicians practice technique under the direction of Keith Hart, band director at KIPP School.

Young musicians practice technique under the direction of Keith Hart, band director at KIPP School.
Susan Meister/UMCOR

"At my ripe old age of 87, this project has been one of the blessed experiences of my life," Wright said. He plans to continue his support. As a half-time chaplain Sarge, as he is known, plays a golden coronet he has owned for more than 50 years.

The North Rampart Community Center is one of the National Mission Institutions of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. An UMCOR grant was used to rehabilitate the facilities to provide space for volunteer teams and allow for the start-up of social service programs as the neighborhood revived. An active summer camp, including music lessons, is under way in 2007.

Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry Executive Director Darrel Tate asked Marva Mitchell, former director for the Uptown Station and now associate pastor at Bethany UMC, to travel to California to personally thank the churches and Kiwanians for their help.

You can read media reports on the donation! Visit

Red Arrow-giftThe Sacramento Bee
Red Arrow-giftNew Orleans Times-Picayune
Red Arrow-giftCalifornia Nevada Conference web site

The stations of the Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry, including volunteers housed at North Rampart near the French Quarter, are helping families rebuild after the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. To volunteer or for more information, contact the Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry.

For more on the United Methodist recovery work visit these web sites:
UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief)
UM News Service
Mississippi Conference
Louisiana Conference
Texas Conference
Alabama-West Florida Conference