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Irish Christmas Dance in Caz to benefit Haiti village

St. James Roman Catholic Church is hosting a free Irish dance celebration at 7 p.m. Friday Dec. 4 at the village municipal building to raise funds for its sister parish, St. Yves in Thibeau, Haiti. The celebration is part of the annual Christmas Walk in Cazenovia.

Students from the Johnston School of Dance and McDonald School of Dance will perform.

The churches have been working together since 2001. In the past year, St. James was able to send 95 students to St. Joseph's School, a school St. James helped to build. They also facilitated a new program in which Haitians learn to raise rabbits for food, and continued a program to provide clean water systems. The church has provided clean water systems to about 4,000 people in 600 homes and hopes to add 300 units in the next year.

St. James is also working to come up with training programs for agriculture and teaching sewing, masonry and carpentry skills. They are also working to provide more training for teachers -- some teachers in Thibeau have about a third through sixth grade education, volunteer Shannon Richards said.

Last year, Richards went to the village with her daughter, Tess, and Adam and Michelle Burnett to assess the rabbit program and water filtration program.

Donations will be accepted at the Christmas Walk event, but those who can't attend the event are invited to send donations to St. James Church. Those interested in becoming involved with the program can call the church at 655-5653.

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