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CJTS Workers "Flip-Flop" for Haiti

From left: Ida Suarez, Bill Rosenbeck, Fred Phillips of Local 2663 and Rev. James Walker.

Members of Council 4 Local 2663 (P-2 Social & Human Services) who work at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown played a major role in a unique campaign to provide desperately needed shoes to impoverished residents of Haiti.

CJTS employees, along with Department of Children & Families Central Office staff, recently donated more than 200 pairs of shoes to Flip Flops for Haiti, a non-denominational program sponsored by the Phillips CME Church in Hartford. 

Local 2663 Steward Fred Phillips is a Youth Service Officer (YSO) at CJTS and an active member of the church. He jumped at the opportunity to marshal support for the campaign after talking to residents and staff at CJTS.

“The stories you hear [about Haiti] touch you as a human being,” Phillips said. “Collecting flip-flops is a simple but powerful way to help people in need.” 

According to the Rev. James Walker of Phillips CME Church, CJTS/DCF employees provided the largest contribution of flip-flops outside of church members. “Fred and the CJTS staff have been a godsend,” he said. 

Ida Suarez, a missionary liaison for the Phillips church, said Haiti’s poverty is evident in many ways, including a lack of practical shoes for children to wear when they play in hot, humid weather. “It’s something people take for granted,” she explained. 

YSOs N’Gai Lobon, Ray Monteiro and Christine Muzik, along with CJTS Superintendent Bill Rosenbeck and DCF Central Office’s Luz Lozano, also played a major role in the Flip Flops for Haiti campaign.

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