Message from our Founder Putting Children First
Following a mission trip to Haiti in 2009 I knew my purpose in life was to help the disadvantaged children in Haiti. We could say the earthquake sealed my purpose. Days following the earthquake I created Pennies for Haiti and applied for 501(c)3 to ensure we could do the most good for Haiti. During the first five years I operated the organization from the states and in 2013 I moved back to Haiti to be the boots on the ground.
Since my return Pennies for Haiti has grown and experienced challenges I could have never foreseen. I adopted a child, a missionary abandoned a child in my custody, I discovered a city named Belle Fontaine which is beautiful and hard to reach at the same time. Haiti was named “La Perle des Antilles” for places like that. However, I would have to say Pennies for Haiti experienced the most changes in 2017. First, while providing hurricane support in Belle Fontaine following Hurricane Matthew baby Lucson died in my arms as we rushed him to a malnutrition center. Following a few hours of interviews in search for the root cause of his death. I decided to help pregnant woman in one of the most secluded areas in Haiti. Second, I learned of an acronym STEM and created a consortium named Haiti STEM Alliance to reach every possible child in Haiti and expose them to these disciplines. Last, we welcomed 16 girls in our home; officially opening a boarding school. It’s a bit different from the traditional boarding school. As much as this was a welcomed move for them, the girls exhibit a lot of disciplinary behaviors. They came with their own set of challenges. But, I believe in second chances and most of all I believe in the importance of education. Above all, that's what I want to give to these girls a well-rounded education despite their educational delay. Many of the girls are not in the proper grade for their age. However, I've learned an important lesson with the right support the girls will excel. Their report cards from the previous school year was at best an average C- today the girls are excelling with a high B+ and some with even A+.
I believe in leaving the experts do their job I do not want to open a school. But I hope to open a daycare center to ensure that children in Haiti receive the basic development skills they need. Our girls are presently enrolled at the Sisters of St. Vincent in Thomassin 25, this is school admits children that are not on track academically. The second school I will enroll our girls is Catts Pressoire which is the best school to help prepare children for the future. My motto is if we are going to do something let’s do it right. So if a child enters our home at age 3 (we have 5 children below the age 5) we should do everything in our power to provide the best for that child.
A little history on our current residents. They use to live in a coed orphanage; social services requested that the kids be split. These kids are not orphans but they are also abandoned by their parents. I have made it my personal mission to love, care and educate them so that their parents' decision does not remain a scar for them. With that said my goal is to mostly accept children that life has placed instances that are completely out of their control. When we move into a bigger house I hope to register with our General Hospital and various police stations and accept girls that either their Mom passed away during childbirth or the child was abandoned somewhere anywhere. Basically making us a “safe haven” for baby girls.
I have an idea not to say I know, that I have a long way to go before we can declare victory. This is why I'm hoping you and your team will join me in the challenges of changing the lives of girls in Haiti not only the girls here but those we can truly say are in need of a good support system.
I can't change everybody's circumstances but one life at a time we can make a difference to stop the next generation to have to place their children in a home similar or worse than ours so that their kids can have a better chance and beginning at life.