Message from our Founder Putting Children First
It's been six years now since I moved back to Haiti, I often share the story of how God finally convinced me to move and my story always had the words "kicking and screaming." I really did not want to move here but God knew best and so I obeyed and moved on September 7, 2013. I wrestled with God and I am thankful that He did not break my hip. But He certainly has blessed me beyond my wildest aspirations. I returned to Haiti two days short of 19 years from the date I moved to the states.
Today, not only has 'Pennies for Haiti' grown beyond our initial business plan but so have I. I would like to share my story with you. You see, 'Pennies for Haiti' is not only an NGO working to better the lives of children. I can honestly say I have become 'Pennies for Haiti'. The mission of the organization is also my mission. I don't work for Pennies for Haiti. I am Pennies for Haiti! I am the embodiment of the organization. If I were to draw an image of 'Pennies for Haiti' I would have to place myself at its core.
Our number one priority is the House of Hope project. When I moved to Haiti I did not have any children. Today, I am Mom to 11 girls, 2 boys, 3 goats, and 1 dog! I don't know how the single Moms do it but God has blessed me with an outstanding staff to ensure that our girls and boys are well taken care of every day.
Our most important project is 'Haiti STEM Alliance'! Our goal is to introduce every child, no matter their background, to programming, robotics, and STEM. At times our challenges overwhelm me, but I take great pleasure in meeting the children in the remote areas of Haiti. It's a wonderful feeling to see a child's eyes light up because they not only built a robot but they programmed it to move. I don't get tired of hearing this question: "will you be back next Saturday?"
The 'STEM 4 Girls' project was created before 'Haiti STEM Alliance' but after awhile I discovered that it was more important to ensure that children everywhere needed to learn STEM, so 'Haiti STEM Alliance' was created. 'STEM 4 Girls' is dedicated to girls living in Caradeux and our girls from the 'House of Hope' project. 'Pennies for Haiti' began it's work in Caradeux so I have made sure that the girls I have grown to know over the years in that area are not forgotten.
'SOS Belle Fontaine', I have fallen in love with two cities in Haiti; Jacmel and Belle Fontaine. I haven't been there in over two years and I miss visiting the residents of this beautiful area. I use to have access to a Ford F250 but since it first broke down and now no longer is in our possession I can't go there anymore. This project's name has two meanings first Serving Our Savior and second the international code signal of extreme distress. Belle Fontaine became a home to me when a baby from there passed away in my arms on our way to a malnutrition center. So in his honor, I adopted Belle Fontaine. I believe our work there will continue one day. I often pray that God will bless us again with a vehicle that will once again allow us to visit this very terrain area. In order, to keep our work going I created a sub-project named 'bel ti machann' which is a fresh fruit and vegetable delivery service to residents in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. Our goal is to help growers sell all their produce, allowing them to have money to care for their families.
'Nwel Pou Timoun', Christmas is a time of year where I prefer to serve. It helps me not focus on how much I miss my family. So, I dive in feeding children in Caradeux to ensure that they have a hot meal and a small gift for on Christmas day. It's a bit selfish of me, I guess it is my way of not feeling alone. You might wonder, how can one feel alone when they have so many children? Well, you see I see them every day of the year so, though they are family, the family I truly want to be with are the ones I don't see every day. So the kids in Caradeux represent the family I don't see often.
There you have it! How I became 'Pennies for Haiti' every year God has blessed me with children all over this country and they remain a part of me because I know my mission is to ensure they see God's love through all that I do. I am with them because God sent me here and to them.