Theresa Foundation

Helping Hands-Theresa Academy “Thanks and Giving Projects”

By: Susan Russo

Sidiki Conde playing West African drum at TAPA camp

For the 7th consecutive year, TAPA faculty, staff and families collected medical supplies to send back to Guinea with our beloved guest artist, Sidiki Conde.

Sidiki, who is a 2008 Theresa Award Recipient, has taught West African drumming and dance at TAPA camp since 2010. During camp, students, faculty and staff collect and donate fever reducing medicines, alcohol swabs, Band-Aids and antibiotic ointments to send back to Sidiki’s village with him when he returns to his village (Conakry) for the winter months.

There are no hospitals or doctors in or near the village, so when the children become ill, particularly with a fever, it can be life threatening. We are pleased to have helped our good friend Sidiki with this life saving project.

This year, we also collected travel size toiletries, snacks and personal items to send overseas to our men and women in the armed forces.

Heartillary is an amazing organization that was started by Emily Gordon-Spencer who is a family friend of the Russo’s.

Emily started Heartillary while her husband, Colonel Scott Spencer was deployed to Afghanistan shortly after their marriage. Scott asked Emily if she could also send some cards and snack boxes to other members of his troop, who were not receiving any letters or packages from home. Emily put a short note onto Facebook, and within a month had collected over 33,000 cards, letters and donations for packages!

The TAPA family is grateful to our men and women of the armed forces and hope to continue sending packages to Emily and Heartillary this year!

You can learn more about Sidiki and Heartillary by watching their Family Comes First episodes here: www.vjrussolaw.com/familycomesfirst

Sidiki Conde