NY state volunteers help Waveland rebuild

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - By Al Showers – bio | email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - A New York state based volunteer organization, The Giving Circle, has returned to the coast this week. The group has made more than 20 trips to Hancock County since Katrina helping to rebuild homes and lives.

"We're closing in what once was kind of a screened in porch to give the folks more room in the community center," said Ron Deutsch, President of The Giving Circle. "And we've set up a computer lab."

The computers The Giving Circle have installed at MLK Park are loaded with games and educational material.

Deutsch said, "Maybe some kids are not fortunate enough to have a computer in the home or internet access."

"It's a tremendous addition to Martin Luther King Park," said Mayor Tommy Longo. "It makes learning so accessible to the children here in the neighborhood."

The work the volunteers are doing here will also give the youngsters educational activities too. The enclosure will serve as a dressing room.

The Giving Circle plans to build a stage in the park, so the youth of the community can hold talent shows here and other forms of entertainment, to give them something to do.

"It's sad to see that there aren't many things for kids to be doing. The skate park is closed. The movie theater seems to be boarded up still, so it doesn't look like there are a lot of activities for the younger generation in Waveland," Deutsch said. "We're hoping that a stage will fill some of that void. Talent shows or fashion shows or the opportunity to have some theater in the community if the kids want to put on plays and stuff."

"At a time when budgets all along the coast are so tight, looking for funds to do projects like this internally, it's almost impossible," Longo said. "So to have a foundation like The Giving Circle step in and partner with the community is unbelievably wonderful."

The stage will be built this spring which will mark the 25th trip to the coast for The Giving Circle.

Founder of The Giving Circle Mark Bertrand said, "There is still a need and after all of these trips probably since the first time we've been here everyone here has really become family. Hancock County will always be a home to us and as long as there is a need we'll keep coming.

A company in Albany New York donated the computers for the Lab and an Architectural Firm in New Waltz New York designed the stage at no cost to the Giving Circle.

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