CHERAW - A hammer, nails, a little sweat and some big hearts are the tools Community Praise-Habitat for Ramps uses to make life a little easier for the elderly and disabled.
And by the way, they're pretty good dancers as well.
The Community Praise and Dance Team is a volunteer youth group that dances for the disabled. When they are not dancing, the group raises money to build accessibility ramps for those they entertain.
Ann Parsons of Chesterfield, coordinator for Habitat for Ramps and the founder of The Angel "Essence" Foundation, began the organizations in 2004. Parson's daughter, Essence Eshay , was born and diagnosed with cerebral palsy, blindness and severe brain damage. She died in October of 2000 at the age of 8.
In 2002, her brother started a dance team called the Community Praise and Dance Team. Money that is raised by the group's performances goes towards specific assistance, such as medical treatment, medical equipment, or other needs that the families may not be able to provide.
The Angel "Essence" Support Foundation and Community Praise Youth are joining with the Community Long-Term Council on Aging, EMS, Transportation, and Adult Day Care to raise funds. The funds are used in the local community for home improvement such as ramps, handicap handless installations, door extensions, and more.
Wal-Mart, Dollar General, Family Dollar and Bi-Lo support the group by allowing them to hold fundraisers on their premises.
Anyone can become a member of the Community Praise and Dance Team. There are no fees. The group, which presently has between 40 and 50 members, is planning to build a new ramp for a resident next week in Chesterfield.
Parsons says the group is in need of a pickup truck and a trailer to haul lumber and supplies to work sites. In addition, a van is also needed for the praise team to travel to and from events.
On April 26, the group received a $500 donation from the Cheraw Family Worship Center. Pastor Jeff Hart said the money was raised at a golf tournament held by the church on April 21.
"We sponsored the tournament with the idea of raising money to benefit the community," said Hart.
If you would like more information about Community Praise-Habitat for Ramps, and the Angel "Essence" Foundation, call Toll Free at 1-877-901-1182, or visit their website at: www.communitypraise-habitatforramps.com. Emails can be sent to