They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO) is celebrating the success of a wonderful year of giving. In 2009, TOCO successfully launched two of its programs, helping countless children and communities in the Caribbean. In June, TOCO launched TOCO SOCCER with a soccer donation drive. Taj Weekes and the TOCO team delivered 500 soccer balls and 600 uniforms to several underserved communities across St. Lucia. During his 10 day stay, Taj was able to interact with community leaders, soccer coaches and hundreds of girls and boys eager to participate in soccer programs. In addition, Taj met with Dr. Stephen King, founder of RISE, a youth organization dedicated to the healthy
development of young people through creating positive change in their communities.
The mission also served as an education in that we were informed of the growing diabetes crisis. TOCO decided to focus its attention the diabetes crisis in St. Lucia, prompting us to launch the “Sneakers Not Wheelchairs” campaign in November. The TOCO team delivered 2700 glucometers to encourage people to test themselves for diabetes. Armed with a film crew to document the event, Weekes visited schools, hospitals and private residences through SLU to spread a message of the importance of good eating habits and exercise to stave off the effects of diabetes, particularly in young people. The team also participated in the Walk and Burn, an event designed to sensitize
the youth of St. Lucia to living healthy and educating them about diabetes.
As TOCO continues to grow and expand its programs, it seeks several different ways to address the needs of young people. In 2010, TOCO will continue to serve the Caribbean islands in various areas of outreach. In March, Taj plans to bring the Clothesline Project to St. Lucia. The Clothesline Project is a program started on Cape Cod, MA, in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women. It is a vehicle for women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of violence against women. Our goal is to raise awareness of domestic violence in the
Caribbean, specifically how domestic violence affects children physically, emotionally and psychologically. The Clothesline Project in St. Lucia will invite victims of domestic violence and their children to tell their stories on t-shirts to be displayed on a clothesline
in a major square in downtown Castries – St. Lucia’s capital.
Throughout the year, TOCO will be working on their Enrichment Through TOCO program. This program is a year long effort to collect books, clothes and toys to be delivered to orphanages throughout the Caribbean during the Christmas holiday.
TOCO IN HAITI
On January 12th of this year, all eyes were on Haiti as the world witnessed…..TOCO will dedicate 2010 to one of several programs geared towards orphans. We will be collecting 5000 children’s shoes to deliver oprhanges in Haiti. TOCO boxes will be on display in elementary schools across the country to collect shoes, sneakers and boots for children of all ages. TOCO has already begun to serve Haiti by successfully sending medical supplies to two hospitals in Haiti – one in Caye Jacmel, the other in Ouanathmethe.
Taj Weekes is hitting the lecture circuit, touring colleges and universities across the country to relate his personal experience, inspirations and aspirations and his commitment to social responsibility. His lectures will explore subjects that have compelled him to pick up his pen and continue in the tradition of storyteller/town
crier that is at the root of reggae music. The lectures will include a Q&A session and discussion forum followed by an acoustic performance by Taj Weekes and Adowa.
TOCO IS GIVING THANKS THROUGH MUSIC
This Spring, Taj Weekes and his band Adowa will be performing at Valapariso University in Indiana and Cleveland Ohio to give thanks to those communites that supported TOCO through their generous donations and awareness campaigns. Special thanks goes to Scott Evans, Jeff Oleck, Andrew McCalsin and Mike Avery for their
fundraising efforts on behalf of TOCO. The fund raised were used to ship supplies, pay for airfare and lodging for the TOCO team and various other ……April 16th(OHIO), April 17th (VALPO).
We are so happy to share our successes with your supporters. Please continue to give your support to our programs and our mission to help the children of the Caribbean. We are always in need of new, seconds or gently used soccer equipment donations: Soccer balls, team uniforms, goalie and referee uniforms, cleats, shin-guards, socks, t-shirts, shorts, sneakers, nets, goals, cones, ball bags, etc. We also urge you to include your friends in a group "fundraiser" so that you can send more than single items. Your donations assist in the ongoing development and administration of TOCO programs and
projects as well as toward the purchase of necessary equipment and supplies. We thank you for your support!
THANK YOU FROM TOCO
TOCO would like to take this opportunity to thank
International Medical Relief Foundation
Gleaning for the World
Healing Hands International
FAME – Partnering in Medical Evangelism
Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach
Valpariso Men’s Soccer
Donna Doty of the Porter County Foundation in Indiana
All of our donors, partners and supporters that are too numerous to name.