Deidra Jones, a staff member in NVCC’s Office of the Registrar and NVCC alumna was recently honored by NFL Team, the New England Patriots and Crown Royal with a “Deserve a Crown” award for her many years of volunteering at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is a camp in Ashford, Connecticut, and hosts children with life-threating illnesses such as sickle cell anemia, metabolic diseases, cancer, and HIV. Jones has volunteered with the camp since 2010 volunteering primarily in the spring and during the weekends in the fall. The camp was founded by Paul Newman in 1988 and Jones, who attend the camp herself, wanted to go back as an adult and give back. She does everything from act as counselor to run the arts and crafts activities to help out in the cooking zone, a special kitchen that caters to children who are sick and those who have many special dietary needs and food allergies due to their illnesses.
Jones said she was honored to be recognized at a Patriots home game recently when they played the New York Jets and said the camp always needs volunteers, and donations so that everything continues to remain free. She said the cost per camper per week is about $2,500 and includes access to on-site doctors and nurses. She said that although the camp does get financial support from purchases of Newman’s Own products, that only 1% of these proceeds go to the camp.
Quoting Paul Newman, Jones says, “The camp is a great place for kids who are in the hospital to come and raise a little hell.” But most of all, she says that many of the kids who attend the camp have had intensive hospital stays, for example, chemo treatments that last up to six months and she said it’s great to see the camp be a space where “kids can be kids again.”
“I am so proud of Dee and her commitment to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp,” said NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. “Dee’s continued selflessness and dedication to helping sick children have an enjoyable camp experience is to be commended.”
To donate or volunteer, visit the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp at: https://www.holeinthewallgang.org/.