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.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

School bell rings at Lekòl Sen Trinite

School bell rings at Lekòl Sen Trinite

The school bell is ringing again at Lekòl Sen Trinite. The 2016-2017 school year started off with the opening of classes on September 5. As is typical, it took a couple of weeks for all the students to return to school, as many of them spend their break from school in the countryside. The class lists were finalized by mid-October.

Again this year, LST is educating 150 students from the Jacmel community. These are children who would not be able to attend school if it were not for LST, as they come from some of the poorest families in the community. LST is a tuition-free school, and all educational materials, uniforms, and other programming are made possible by our generous donors.

LST has both morning and afternoon sessions. The morning session has seven grades, from the Montessori preschool/kindergarten to sixth grade. The morning session is for both boys and girls. The afternoon session is girls only and has four grades, Montessori preschool/kindergarten through third grade.

We are proud that last year all of the sixth graders at LST passed their class successfully!

The Montessori preschool/kindergarten program, the only Montessori program in Jacmel, is a three year program before they can move on to first grade. Students as young as three years-old are accepted into the Montessori program at LST.

Little girl at Lekòl Sen Trinite receives gifts from a donor

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Back to school for the SJF Boys!

Back to school for the SJF Boys!

Education and family are two important components to the SJF philosophy of raising responsible and caring children. The five young men supported by St. Joseph’s Home are learning those lessons in very real ways. All the boys live either with their families or in a foster care situation. This allows them to experience family life and be a part of the larger community. Four of the boys are continuing their academic education, which is provided for by St. Joseph’s. The fifth young man is getting ready to embark on a vocational education, which will give him the foundation to support himself.

Photo of Steevens

Steevens

Steevens, whose mother and father are both deceased, lives with his uncle and attends a school in the neighbor where he lives in the Bon Repos section of Port-au-Prince. He is in ninth grade and his favorite subjects are math and politics. Steevens has big plans for his future with his dream being to someday become a lawyer. For now though, his favorite pastime is playing soccer. He plays on his school’s soccer team.

Gasthy, a member of the St. Joseph Family in Haiti

Gasthy

Gasthy and Ti Ralph are brothers. They share the same mother, but have different fathers. Ti Ralph’s father died when he was young. Both boys live with their mother. Gasthy is in seventh grade. He took the government exams last year and did very well. His mother sells things in the market area and he always helps her transport her wares to and from the market. Gusty dreams of being a professional soccer player, but if that doesn’t work out, he thinks a good plan would be to learn how to install windows and work on a construction crew. Ti Ralph lives with Gasthy and their mother. He has struggled academically and did not pass his academic classes last year. Because he is getting older, the path for Ti Ralph is now to pursue a vocational education so that he can learn a trade to be able to support himself. He is thinking about learning how to install tile. In his free time he likes to sing and play soccer. He also helps his mother in the market.

photo of Wisleme

Wisleme

Wisleme lives with his mother. His father died when he was very young. He is in eighth grade and dreams of going to medical school. He likes to read and play soccer.

Lulu is from a very poor and remote mountain village. He is living in a foster care situation so that he can continue school and be supported by the SJF. He is in sixth grade and does very well in school. He loves to write and dreams of becoming a journalist. He also loves to play the drums and to play basketball.

Photo of Lulu

Lulu

Lulu, Wisleme, Gasthy and Ti Ralph all live in the same area in the mountains just outside of Port-au-Prince. Because they live close to each other, the SJF is able to provide a tutor for them. They meet with the tutor five nights a week to help them with their academic studies. Even though Ti Ralph is no longer attending an academic program, he also attends these sessions to continue his education informally. Because Steevens lives far away from the other boys, he studies on his own and with his classmates.

Besides paying for the tuition for the schools and vocational education for the boys, the SJF, through donations received for the Tree of Life program, is able to help with basic needs for the boys. SJF leadership members are present in their lives and meet with them on a regular basis.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Beyond the Storm

Beyond the Storm

Friends, Your outpouring of love and support have been overwhelming. We can not thank you enough for your love, prayers, and financial support. While the St. Joseph Family was fortunate enough not to experience significant damage to their buildings, the damage they did suffer has a significant price tag to it. Evaluations are still being performed and estimates gathered, but as of right now, repair and replacement costs look like they will be upwards of $20,000. In addition, assessments are still being performed on the homes of employees and LST families, and we will share those reports with you when we receive them. But, thanks to the generosity of donors like you, repairs have already begun, and we are well on our way to meeting those expenses. Thank you!

Because you responded so quickly, the children and staff of the St. Joseph Family have been able to return to the comfort of their daily routines. Days are filled with school, physical and occupational therapy, friends, music, sports, tutoring, and lots of love. Every day the 32 kids at Wings, 5 boys under the care of St. Joseph’s, and 150 students at LST receive the best possible care – all because of the generosity and compassion of donors like you. But being able to continue to provide top quality care requires a simultaneous focus on ensuring there is proper funding to support the day-to-day operations of the SJF.  Below, we’ve highlighted a couple of fun and easy ways for you to support the ongoing needs of the SJF, and we’ll soon be announcing a very exciting matching grant opportunity. We need your help to spread the word about the transformative ministry of the St. Joseph Family and ensuring that there are sufficient funds to maintain this critical ministry well into the future.

Mèsi anpil, not only for responding so quickly in a time of great urgency and need, but also for being there – day after day, month after month, year after year – for Haiti’s most vulnerable children.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Wootrod

Wootrod

Hearts with Haiti and the St. Joseph Family are committed to ensuring that the young men who graduate from the Family are supported in their transition into independence. The Timoun Jodi Granmoun Demen (“Children Today, Adults Tomorrow”) program provides these young men with the career counseling and job skills training needed to make this transition smoothly and successfully. Wootrod Joly is a participant in the TJGD program.

My name is wootrod. I am 21 years of age. I recently graduated from St. Joseph’s Home. I am now living at a rental apartment. I’m still going to school. Actually this is my last year in High School, I am looking forward to this school year and also the outcome.

My favorite subjects in school are Physics, and Math, so this school year I am really going to make the effort to have good grades, to be able to move to the next level. The last year of High School is not easy, but I pray that I will make it.

As hobbies, I love to play the guitar and sing. I also take the time to read more, because people do get knowledge through reading, it is an important thing to do. I also like to watch TV.

My big dream for the future is for one day to be a lawyer. But I am also interested in other things such as Accounting. My music career and so on.

I’m excited and thrilled to be able to have a home, an apartment of my own to stay in. To me it is a very big deal, especially when you are living in a country where there’s no job opportunities and the government aid is pretty much down to zero on a scale. To me it’s a blessing.  I thank God for the SJF family for all the support they provided for me in my life. Thank you.

 

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

“Haiti Through Our Eyes” 2016 Calendar

“Haiti Through Our Eyes” 2016 Calendar

It’s here!

You asked for it, and we delivered. The 2016 St. Joseph Family calendar, “Haiti Through our Eyes” is here. This beautiful calendar celebrates the Wings of Hope Family by showcasing photographs made by twelve of the Wings residents during their summer photography course. Each month provides a short description of the photographer and a collage of their work. (See more about the summer photography course on the SJF facebook page.)

The calendars make perfect gifts for those who know and love the children at Wings of Hope or for those who simply wish to make the world a better place. The calendars are professionally printed on 100 lb txt heavy weight paper and have holes drilled for hanging. Calendar dimensions are 12 x 18″.

We need your help selling the calendars! Thanks to a very generous donor, our printing costs have have been completely, so 100% of the proceeds will profit the organization – making this a HUGE fundraising opportunity! These calendars sell well at Advent Fairs and holiday craft fairs. Order yours today!

 

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Celebrating 10 years of teacher training

Celebrating 10 years of teacher training

It had been overcast and rainy every day in Fermathe that week, which didn’t bode well for the upcoming teacher training session. Having participated as the students in a teacher training workshop on Wednesday, the Wings of Hope teachers were eagerly looking forward to sharing their new expertise with a group of teachers from nearby Duplan. But, given the size of the group, the best place to host the training was on the front porch. However, the weather would have to cooperate to be able to use the open-air space.

This model of teacher training – in particular empowering Haitian educators to provide training for other Haitian teachers – has been 10 years in the making, thanks to a group of dedicated educators from North Carolina. Aware of their own privilege and access to professional development resources, these educators felt called to share the gifts that had been given to them with others.

“I learned that the most important thing is to show up and let the invisible become visible, that is, to allow God to become visible through you and your actions.”

Teachers show off science lesson around metamorphasisThe workshops are organized around a particular theme, in which the teacher students are provided instruction about the active learning process by participating in lessons that model this form of pedagogy. This year’s theme was “transformation” and used the image of the butterfly (papiyon in Creole) to engage in active learning exercises in reading, science, bible study, and music.

Further reinforcing the process, the teachers work together to create their own children’s book based on the theme. They are provided with cameras to use to photograph images that are representative of the theme. They then annotate the photographs in Creole. The finished books, which will be printed in the U.S. and brought back on a future trip, are distributed back to the teachers to be used in their classrooms.

Teachers work on annotating their book

One of the teachers from North Carolina excitedly reported that “the workshops (which are translated into Creole) were an overwhelming success with the teachers enthusiastically engaged in the active learning process and coming away with many new materials and ideas of how to teach children.  There was also much singing and laughing throughout the day.”

As the roosters crowed on Friday morning, the day that the Wings of Hope teachers were to lead the teacher training workshop, the sun filled the sky and the clouds drifted away. It was going to be a perfect day for a workshop on the porch.

Chairs and tables were set out for the expected 15 teacher students from Duplan… and just as quickly they were filled. More chairs and more tables were retrieved as teachers continued to arrive. Word had gotten out about the workshop, and an additional 10 teachers made their own transportation arrangements to travel to Fermathe and participate.

Wings of Hope teacher teaches a teacher training workshopThe training went as planned, with the weather cooperating and the students fully engaged in learning. “It was rewarding to see the Wings of Hope teachers take ownership of the knowledge and materials and share them with their fellow teachers,” said one of the North Carolina teachers.

At the end of each training session the teacher students were each given a beautiful certificate acknowledging their participation in the workshop. But on this day, in recognition of the 10 year commitment that the North Carolina educators have made to this community and to this mission, the Wings of Hope teachers presented the NC teachers with their very own certificate.

Wings of Hope teachers give a certificate to the NC teachers

Reflecting on the experience, one of the NC teachers remarked, “I learned that the most important thing is to show up and let the invisible become visible, that is, to allow God to become visible through you and your actions.”

Indeed, God was visible through the actions of this group of dedicated individuals. Thank you for your continued service to the children and teachers in Haiti!

See more photos on our facebook page!

*******************************

Lekol sen Trinite teachers create books in Creole

Building a Creole library

One of the many wonderful outcomes of these workshops is the opportunity for the Haitian teachers to create a book that is written in Creole and is culturally relevant to Haitian children. Each year the American teachers choose a theme for the book and work with the Haitian teachers to take photographs using cameras provided by the U.S. team. They then write the corresponding story in Creole. Books in Haiti are rare enough, but books written in Creole are virtually nonexistent, making it extremely difficult for children to learn to read and write. Joy and pride fills the teachers’ faces as each year as they receive these precious commodities, written in their native tongue.

Books written in Creole by Haitian teachers

To learn more about the challenges of the education system in Haiti:

 

 

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Investing in women, investing in the community

Investing in women, investing in the community

Of all the things that we Americans take for granted, the ability to read and write is probably at the top of the list. I remember with clarity how, on my first trip to Haiti, the gentleman sitting next to me was unable to complete his customs form, and the flight attendant – without missing a beat – helped him perform the task. Up until his signature, of course. Which he formed as a large black “X.”

Unfortunately, that was not a one-off event. I have witnessed it each and every time I have traveled to Haiti.

According to UNICEF, nearly half of all Haitians (48.7%) are illiterate. But the St. Joseph Family is working to change those statistics.

In the seaside town of Jacmel, the leaders of the St. Joseph Family have formed a women’s group, comprised of 30 mothers of children at Lekòl Sen Trinite, to teach them how to read and write and how to crochet. According to Bill Nathan, “When we first starting working with them they didn’t know how to read or write, and now they can read. I see a lot of changes in the mothers now because of this program. Whenever they sell a bag (that they crocheted), the money goes to feed their children.”

This remarkable program was begun by a long-term friend of the St. Joseph Family. She and the leaders visited the homes of the women in order to get to know them better and understand their needs.Says Bill, “It’s very important to know the people  that you are working with. We are going to continue working with these mothers and the children in the community of Jacmel.”

In addition to providing the mothers with skills and an education, they also are learning to value the importance of providing an education for their children… something that the teachers at Lekòl Sen Trinite very much appreciate!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Here I am, Lord

Here I am, Lord


The following story is from Debbie, a regular visitor to Haiti and the St. Joseph Family homes. For many years Debbie has been instrumental in hosting a summer Vacation Bible School for the children in Jacmel. 

A long favorite hymn of mine is “Here I Am Lord.”  The refrain reads. “Here I am Lord, is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. If you lead me, I will follow; I will hold your people in my heart.”

If you lead me, I will follow.  Well, a total of 15 of us followed a call to Haiti this summer to lead a Vacation Bible School for over 200 kids in Jacmel.  As we sat on the roof of Trinity House on our first night, Pastor Rick spoke with us about God’s calling us to Haiti. He asked if anyone wanted to share why God called us here?”

Being the good American I am, I thought I was called to teach, to love, to serve, to be the hands and feet of Christ amongst the people of Haiti.

Debbie and Steve, at Wings of HopeSounds good, right?  Well God does indeed have a sense of humor because, I was the one who was taught by these most precious children of Haiti; I was loved by them, I was served by them and I witnessed their joy in being the hands and feet of Christ to all they welcome into their home.

And so, I went to Haiti to teach, yet they taught me about endurance.   To survive each day is a story of endurance for most children in and around Trinity House.  Children awaken in tents.  There is no clean water for them to drink, little or no food to eat, no water to wash in, for some no shoes to wear.  Yet, they endure.

We were greeted on Sunday by these children around Trinity House with smiles of happiness and by those who imitate PR’s “anpil, anpil”.  As we cleaned the field in preparation for camp, they worked alongside us, hauling cinder blocks and picking up trash.  It was on Sunday that I met Kikou and Nanou, 2 small children from the tents behind Trinity House.  I immediately fell in love.  To see these smiling, loving children amidst this incredible poverty stirred something inside.

Working with Maya and Verbo, they were able to speak with their families on my behalf about educating these young children.  Education will not only give them a leg up in Haiti, but it will provide food each day and clothing in the form of a school uniform.  Theirs will still be a story of daily endurance on a scale we, as Americans, cannot truly understand. However, I am blessed to now call these two precious children part of our family.

And so, I went to Haiti thinking we Americans live a fortunate life and have most of the answers.  I returned with eyes and heart opened.  In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount He blesses the poor.  I see now, that I was, I am the poor in spirit, yet now I am blessed as I have indeed seen the Kingdom of Heaven.  Thanks Be to God!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail