DOUBLE your donation with Board Bucks!

DOUBLE your donation with Board Bucks!

Our Hearts with Haiti board members know first-hand how critical your donations are toward sustaining the transformative ministries of the St. Joseph Family. They believe so strongly in the mission of the SJF that they – board members past and present – pooled their funds to form a $60,000 matching grant.

Thanks to your generous that goal was not only met, it was exceeded! We thank you so much, mèsi anpil!

But wait…that’s not all. Later the board members presented a challenge. They would match up to $10,000 for all NEW donors or donors who haven’t given since November 2015. That goal was not only met but exceeded! We thank you so much, mèsi anpil!

 
It is because of your constant support that we are able to help sustain the transformative ministries of the St. Joseph Family. Jesus calls us in John to go and bear fruit, with your donations we are able to continue to pour into the lives of vulnerable children in Haiti and bear fruit within the St. Joseph Family communities.

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Hope reborn in Haiti

Hope reborn in Haiti

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.” 1 Corinthians 13

Among our church’s longest and strongest Outreach relationships is that with the St. Joseph Family. Founded in the 1980’s to provide a home for boys living on the streets, it has come a long way and this year achieved two new milestones, in which our partnership played an important part.

In the 1994, the boys in St. Joseph’s Family saw a new need in their community. Many disabled children in Haiti were faced with bleak futures—they often were born into families without the financial resources to provide the care needed and some in the culture did not accept these children, viewing them as a sign of God’s disfavor. This led the St. Joseph Family to take a leap of faith, creating Wings of Hope, a home for disabled children, once again using the approach of rebuilding a family for those society had neglected and rejected.

The earthquake in 2010 shook the foundations of many institutions in Haiti, and the St. Joseph Family was among them. Both of their facilities were destroyed or damaged beyond repair. For the last five years, the thirty members of the Wings of Hope family have been living in a jury-rigged rental house in the hills above Port-au-Prince. The love and support of the caregivers remained unchanged, but the physical challenges of a three-story house accommodating severely disabled children, many in wheelchairs, were daunting.

Faith, hope and love are the true foundations of the St. Joseph Family, however, and they put these to work, dreaming of new facilities to replace the old, places where loving care could take place in a setting tailored to the needs of the children. With the help of their Raleigh-based fundraising arm, Hearts with Haiti, they raised money for a world-class facility and began construction. Your generosity through the Capital Campaign tithe played a key role in this process. In January the new Wings of Hope opened in Jacmel.

Our Mission Team visited the new Wings in late March and was blown away by the new facility. Brightly colored, all on one level, and surrounding an open-courtyard, it’s a facility designed with the needs to the disabled first and foremost.

The bCardsoy’s rooms, paid for by your donations, was bright and spotless, with beautiful Haitian art decorating the walls, and the girls dormitory was similarly beautiful. The smiles on the faces and the joy in the voices of the children provided the clearest message—they love their new home. We were blessed to share the Easter service with them and were moved to tears by the way in which all, even those who cannot speak in words, are included in the service. We also had a chance to give each child a set of Easter cards made by the children in our Sunday School classes, which were received with great excitement.

The St. Joseph Family has also experienced a second re-birth over the last year. The plan of the founder was to ultimately turn over leadership of the Family to the alumni of the program. That is now coming into fruition as boys who grew up in the family have become young men, and are assuming leadership roles. Three of them, Maya Fond-Rose, Daniel Jean Mary, and Walnes Cangas spent the last three weeks in the US, meeting and thanking supporters and spreading the word about the good work of the family. A group from our church shared dinner with them, hearing first hand of their triumphs and challenges. All of us came away with a new sense of commitment to our partnership, which has brought much to so many in Haiti and in our congregation. We also hope many more people in our congregation can join trips to visit Haiti, and experience the beauty of the land and people first hand.

– Mark, for Global Outreach

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Children Today, Adults Tomorrow

Children Today, Adults Tomorrow

The new program, “Timoun Jodi Granmoun Demen” (Children Today, Adults Tomorrow), directed by Bill Nathan, is already having a demonstrable impact on the lives of the young men involved. Bill developed this program to help the graduates from St. Joseph’s Home for Boys transition into independent living through job skills and independent living skills training.

In Jacmel, Camelo (a graduate of the SJF) is heading up the program for the boys who graduated from Trinity House:

  • Dadzy is attending music school and making good use of a drum set that was gifted to him. Because he is blind, he has additional challenges that he has to overcome, but he is working hard to achieve his goals! His goal is to become a professional drummer; in the meantime he works at Wings playing drums for the kids during their therapy classes.
  • Peter is going to school to learn how to be a carpenter. He also works full-time cleaning Lekol Sen Trinite and part-time at the guest house in Jacmel.
  • Reginald also has both physical and mental challenges, but he also embodies the Wings motto, “possibilities, not disabilities”! Reginald is working as a cleaning person at Wings of Hope, and according to the SJF leaders, he is extremely conscientious and a very hard worker.

Camelo is working hard to teach these young men how to live independently, beginning with teaching them how to save their money by putting it into a bank account. With all the training they are receiving, they will one day be prepared to give back to the community of Jacmel.

Bravo, Camelo, Dadzy, Peter, and Reginald!

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Saying goodbye to Fermathe…

Saying goodbye to Fermathe…

 

Hope moved to the sleepy little village of Fermathe, which—though it’s just up the mountain from the capital—might as well be a world away.

In a place like Fermathe, in a country like Haiti, the general consensus on the streets is that people with mental and physical disabilities are the manifestation of evil spirits. In Fermathe, in 1995, being disabled was not only not accepted; it was feared.

For this reason, you simply didn’t see non-disabled individuals interacting with the disabled population. Those that are disabled were generally hidden away by their families or left to fend for themselves. They were often abused, neglected, abandoned, and mocked.

Because of those attitudes, the arrival of the Wings of Hope family in Fermathe was met with a level of curiosity… and also feelings of fear and uncertainty.

But that attitude has changed over past twenty years, thanks to the residents and staff of Wings of Hope. There, employees gathered alongside disabled children and adults. They came to know and love the residents of Wings of Hope and approach them with care and respect, as their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Eventually families and friends did as well — wives whose husbands worked at Wings, sons whose mothers washed the laundry, children of workers, friends of friends. Everyone was transformed by their interactions with the Wings of Hope family.

As the children of Wings of Hope went out into the community, their neighbors became friends. Whether it was a walk down the street to purchase a snack and a drink with their allowance, or a trip to the Baptist Mission with visitors, the Wings of Hope children began to change attitudes with their very presence and joy. The members of the community could see that the Wings of Hope residents, despite their challenges, were not to be feared. They, God’s most-loved children, should be respected and valued.

Through their diligent example, love prevailed and spread like wildfire, and these children and adults with disabilities became a beacon of light to their community. These beautiful and broken hearts that had been overlooked and left behind began to heal. In turn, they healed all those that came into contact with them.

It has been 20 years. In that time, as the residents of Wings of Hope have come out of their shells, grown and matured, so have the citizens of Fermathe. As we now say goodbye to Fermathe, a place of reconciliation and transformation, we look to Jacmel, and the wonderful possibilities that exist to transform a new community. We hope, and we pray, that the journey will continue, and that love and acceptance will continue to prevail.

— Elizabeth Whitmire

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Wings move and dedication dates set!

Wings move and dedication dates set!

Thanks to the tremendous generosity of our supporters, construction on the new Wings of Hope in Jacmel continues to stay on-schedule, with a move date scheduled for mid-November. The children (and staff!) are eager to move and spend their first Christmas in their new home! Thank you for making it possible!

Wings of Hope courtyard in Jacmel, Haiti

Residents at Wings will enjoy the open and completely wheelchair-accessible facilities in Jacmel, including this beautiful new courtyard.

 

Our final hurdle is to raise the necessary funds for moving and finishing costs. One of the major cost items will be making repairs to the rental homes. Let’s just say that the children have really loved their home! We are very grateful to our landlords for their flexibility and trust, and we want to be sure to return their homes to them in the same condition they were when we began renting with them.

There are also costs associating with painting, generator repairs, personnel, etc. The Wings family has been extremely frugal with their resources, and they are saving costs in every possible way.  However, we still need to raise another $40,000 to ensure that we have the necessary funds to ensure that the November move is as easy for the Wings family as possible.

You have gotten us this far… you have raised over $1 million! Let’s join together and make this final push to get the kids into their new wheelchair-accessible home!

Donate now… and give the gift of HOME!

  • Wings move date: mid-November
  • Wings dedication date: Friday, January 29, 2016

Make your reservation TODAY! Contact Renee at sjgrants@hotmail.com.

 

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New experience for longtime volunteer

New experience for longtime volunteer

Part two of a report by Ava-joye Burnett during her mission trip in Haiti. She and her other team members visited Wings of Hope in Fermathe, a home for children with mental and physical disabilities. In this story, Burnett interviews a physician, the home’s director, and a long-time volunteer.

Click on the video below or read the full story here.

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The beautiful spirit at Wings of Hope

The beautiful spirit at Wings of Hope

Ava-joye Burnett, from the abc news team at WRIC in Richmond, Virginia, recently visited Wings of Hope and published this wonderful story about the home in Fermathe, Haiti that provides a family for children “who were literally left for dead.” Wings of Hope provides refuge for 31 children and young adults who have physical and mental disabilities.

Click on the video below to watch or read the full story here.

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A model for the world

A model for the world

It is hard to even put my experiences at Wings of Hope into words. It is my happy place and the place in which I feel the most “full.” Everyday that I am back in America my heart is in Haiti at Wings of Hope.

I was beyond lucky to spend a total of two months at Wings of Hope this summer, and four weeks there the past four summers. From the second I stepped foot into the Wings of Hope doors I felt an overwhelming sense of love, compassion, happiness, faith and mostly selflessness.

I believe that the way this organization is run is the way that the world is supposed to be.

This organization has taken children and adults off the streets who otherwise may have been left with nothing. No love, no hope, and no chance of having the happy life that everyone deserves. These beautiful people are the perfect example of Gods work and of “possibilities, not disabilities.” There is nothing these kids can’t do.

When so many others turned their backs, Wings of Hope opened their doors and hearts to each one of these residents and provided them the best life possible. Without Wings of Hope most of these children and adults would have nothing.

The staff goes above and beyond making sure that each child and adult is as comfortable and accommodated for as possible. They leave their families at home every day to take care of their second family. They work endless hours just to assure that no child or adult goes a day without a hug, smile or laugh and to assure that they receive a clean change of clothes, three warm meals, and a day filled with education, recreation and games.

They are a family that is run by love and they dance and sing and celebrate all of the good in the world. The pure joy that surrounds this place, especially during music time, makes me feel closer to God than I ever have.

They praise God every morning and demonstrate the true meaning of compassion and caring for others.

Alice and friends

There are countless small moments that have changed me forever. Just simply holding Junior, while he wraps his arms around me as tight as he can and lets me know that he trusts me.. laying with Mamoune and just bobbing our heads or giving her a shoulder to lay her head on… sitting on the porch listening to music with David, sitting in the sun with Delome and watching his bright smile shine through… talking sports with Lazar and Teddy, morning prayers with Gesner as he grips your hand, jumps up to dance whenever the singing starts, and then sits back down to put his head on your shoulder… having eloquent conversations with Raoul that you will never understand, picking jokes and pulling pranks on others with Jozye, talking to Esther, Fabiola and Funa just to see their faces light up… throwing dance parties in the girls room and watching all of them dance in their own unique way… or simply just spending time with some of the residents who aren’t able to communicate well, sitting there peacefully, enjoying each others company, and just looking off the balcony and observing everyone around with Peterson. I could name a special memory with every single child and adult, but I would go on forever.

These children and adults have made me feel more love than I have ever experienced in my life, and I have never had an actual verbal conversation with half of them.

Wings of Hope is a place that is so special to me, and these people are my family. I wouldn’t trade my time here for anything in the world. I love each and every person in this organization an immense amount, and I am always looking forward to my next visit.

The world could learn a great deal of compassion by taking a trip to Wings of Hope.

— Alice

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Wings rebuilding update

Wings rebuilding update

Double your donation and help us reach our $75K match!

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, donations made toward the Wings of Hope rebuilding campaign will be matched 100% and your donation will go twice as far toward providing a permanent wheelchair-accessible home for the 30 residents at Wings of Hope. This match is only good through 2014, so act now!

Wings of Hope fundraising thermometer - $843,000!

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Why is Sara so happy?

Sara at Wings of Hope

When I think about my experience with Wings of Hope, this verse always comes to my mind, “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

One of the teachers at Wings asked me one summer while I was volunteering, “Sara, why are you so happy all the time?”  After struggling for awhile to explain, I thought about it and realized I am so happy when I am in Haiti because the kids and staff at Wings are God’s perfect example of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and most of all, deep, deep love. They show love for their country, their neighbors, each other, and for us who have the opportunity to become a part of their extended family.

The family at Wings has faced almost every hardship, every disaster, and the kids refuse to sit back and let disabilities determine how fully they will live their lives. They live with almost nothing, yet they have shining optimism and they exhibit every one of Jesus’ most important characteristics.

And we, with our nice homes, and comfortable lives full of so many more wants then needs, tend to doubt so deeply. We claim that peace is not possible for our world, we forget that forgiveness for every single person is important, and that every person deserves to be loved no matter what they look like, where they are from, what they believe, or whoever we may judge them to be.

Photo of Teddy at Wings of Hope in Fermathe, HaitiI am so utterly happy every moment I am with the Wings kids and the St. Joseph’s Family because they are the most shining, perfect examples of God’s hope for this world and every single one of God’s children. These kids renew my faith every time I think of them. I’ve seen them do more then you could ever believe. Each one helps where they can; Pierre, Erique and Raul washing dishes after every meal, Peterson hauling heavy buckets of dirty laundry water, David always trying to share any extra food he has with the other kids around him, Teddy using his own “Teddy language,” to let volunteers know who has or hasn’t eaten, Jozye always making sure he puts on movies for the girls who are stuck in their beds because they often can’t go out and watch TV with the other kids, and the list goes on and on.

I’ve seen the staff work harder and leap over more obstacles then you would ever think possible. They often walk miles to get to Wings, getting up at the crack of dawn to care for their own families and then they go work with kids that most of the community thinks are worthless. They have to come up with new ideas every day, like using clothes pins to make it easier for some of the kids to hold the crayons and color in art class. They put so much energy into finding new ways the kids can participate despite their physical limitations. Even when faced with seizures, and wheel chairs, and very little verbal communication, they make sure every child is loved and included in activities.

I’ve learned to be a better example of love, compassion, hard work, and gentleness because of the time I have spent with the St. Joseph’s family. Because of this family, I know that with God, every single person, no matter their disabilities, their nationality, or how much they do or don’t have, can change this world. Change is achievable, and I know in my heart, all that we do hope for is possible for this world.

Each year long-term volunteers dedicate a month or more of their time in service to the St. Joseph Family. Living alongside the staff and residents in one of the homes, they become authentic members of the family and immersed in Haitian culture. The story above comes from Sara, a long-term volunteer during the summer of 2014.

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