Fifth graders at Tanglewood Elementary School raised money for Camp Jubilee in honor of their own school’s campus monitor, Alex Williams.

“One of the fun activities the fifth graders have every year is a picnic and that is where they gave me the donation,” Williams said.

Camp Jubilee was first held in 1991 and has been held annually at Camp John Marc in Meridian ever since, according to the Camp Jubilee website. The summer camp for children with sickle cell anemia is provided at no cost to campers, who can interact and build friendships with other children with this disease and feel like “regular” campers.

Tanglewood Elementary School plays an important role in raising money for Camp Jubilee. This year, the fifth grade class at Tanglewood had a program called “Bucks for Beads” that raised money for the Beads of Courage program at the camp for their class community service project.

Williams is a camp counselor and on the board at Camp Jubilee. He, too, has been diagnosed with sickle cell and volunteers his time for one week every summer for children with this disease.

“Every counselor has a group with no more than 10 kids, and we just have fun and do different camp activities,” Williams said.

The class goal was to try to raise $1,200 by selling beads for $1 a necklace that fifth graders wore. The class exceeded its goal and raised more than $2,000 to pay for the program at camp and sponsor a camp luncheon for the volunteers. The fifth grade class presented their donation to Williams at their fifth grade picnic a few weeks ago.

“Mr. Williams is an important part of our school family,” said Kristi Burdette, a Tanglewood fifth grade mom and head of the fifth grade community service project.

Tanglewood tries to do blood drives during school open houses at least once a year to donate blood for sickle cell disease, Burdette said.

Sickle cell anemia is a life-long, inherited condition affecting the red blood cells. People with sickle cell disease may experience fatigue, pain, infections, stroke and other life-threatening occurrences.


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