Hearts with Haiti and the Current Status of the SJF

February 4, 2016

Hearts with Haiti is dedicated to fostering a brighter, more sustainable future for the young people of Haiti. We believe in the St. Joseph Family (SJF) and the incredible care it provides to Haiti’s most disadvantaged children and young adults, including those with varying physical, emotional and mental health challenges.

At Hearts with Haiti we also believe that SJF founder Michael Geilenfeld is a good and faithful person whose dedication has been essential to the successes of the Family. Michael was defamed by a man named Paul Kendrick, who lives in Maine and who posts false blogs and statements about Michael and Hearts with Haiti on the internet, often times hiding his identity by using the name “Ignatius Group.” On July 23, 2015, after an exhaustive three-week trial, a 10-person jury in federal court in Maine unanimously returned a verdict against Paul Kendrick on all claims.  In October 2015, the United States District Court Judge rejected Kendrick’s motion for a new trial.

Unfortunately, despite this resounding verdict against him, Paul Kendrick has not stopped his slander and libel.  He also makes statements now disparaging the federal jury and the federal civil justice system in the United States.

Without ever having met Michael or any SJF residents or staff, and never having visited any of the three facilities for disabled and disadvantaged children in Haiti, Kendrick attacked Michael and the SJF. He intended to dismantle the St. Joseph Family’s fundraising network in the United States and Canada, personally targeting donors, fundraisers, and benefactors — including Hearts with Haiti. Now the U.S. justice system has emphatically ruled that Kendrick recklessly disregarded the truth when he made each of his statements against us, significantly hindering our fundraising efforts.

In the aftermath of the disruption from Kendrick and his conspirators in Haiti, and as a result of Kendrick’s disruption, the licensing process for St. Joseph’s Home for Boys has been delayed.  Currently, the children now live with their extended families or in foster care, but the SJF still supports them through payments for their private school tuition, tutoring, and living expenses. Without those payments the children would not have access to these services nor the means to meet basic needs. Emotionally and spiritually the children are part of the SJF, but they cannot physically live as a family in community at St. Joseph’s until the licensing process in Haiti is completed.

Wings of Hope continues to provide a home for 32 children and young adults with physical and mental challenges.  Residents receive health care, therapy, and education and are mainstreamed into their communities to the greatest extent possible.  Very simply, Wings of Hope exists to give these children and young people the opportunity to enjoy life and all its blessings.

Lekòl Sen Trinite likewise continues to provide primary education to more than 150 of the most impoverished and disadvantaged children and provides vocational training to dozens of young adults in the Jacmel, Haiti community.

Thus, the SJF, through Wings of Hope and Lekòl Sen Trinite, continues to provide much-needed support to the often forgotten populations of children and young adults in Haiti. We, at Hearts with Haiti, remain focused on bettering the lives of these young people through our continued support of the SJF.  We are thrilled by the affirmation and vindication obtained by the legal processes in federal court, but we are most excited to get back to our core purpose, which is raising money and in-kind gifts and services to support Haiti’s most disadvantaged children.

Please join us in this continuing support for the children of Haiti.