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.

 

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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!

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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:

 

 

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Art, Music, and the St. Joseph Family

Art, Music, and the St. Joseph Family

For many in the United States, life in Haiti seems filled with hardship.  This idea of a ‘suffering Haiti’ is what we see in the mass media.  And, after all, the country is still recovering from what was, by many measures, the most devastating natural disaster to strike our world in generations.

While it is true that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and, because of that, life is hard for many, many people, the reality is that Haiti is also a place of profound beauty.

Aside from the natural beauty of the country – the mountains rising up from bright blue seas and abundant wildlife – the people of Haiti have also created a richly beautiful and unique artistic heritage.  This artistry can be seen in so many places — from the myriad street vendors selling bright paintings and iron art to voices lifted up in song on any given morning to the poetry of Haitian proverbs that pepper everyday Kreyòl. Haiti is a country truly immersed in art.

Recognizing this, the St. Joseph Family was founded on the belief that art, music, and dance are things of beauty that should not be reserved for the wealthy. Instead, they should be cornerstones of life for even the most disadvantaged members of society.

As a visitor to Haiti and as a guest at St. Joseph’s Home for Boys, Wings of Hope, Trinity House, and Lekol Sen Trinite, I was always amazed by the artistic beauty exemplified by this ministry.  The daily prayers at St. Joseph’s are not just spoken, but rather sung with an entrancingly beautiful plainsong.  The dancers of the RDTH pour out their hearts and souls through stunning and complex choreography.  The residents of Wings of Hope are transformed through daily song and dance that lift up their spirits and help them forget their mental and physical challenges.

Indeed, as a musician myself, the deep fulfillment I experienced performing my viola alongside drummers at Wings of Hope and young singers at St. Joseph’s is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

The music and art of Haiti touched my soul, and the kindness of its people opened my heart.  The St. Joseph Family was my portal to this culture, and as they celebrate their 30th anniversary, they are deserving of blessings and support.

St. Joseph’s is a remarkable ministry that believes in the value of human life and recognizes the capacity of art and culture to bring beauty and joy, even at the ends of the earth.

Bonne fete zanmi mwen!

— Geoffrey Hamlyn

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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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