Saturday, 28 May 2011

Hearts With Haiti

Hearts With Haiti

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"How can I help Haiti?" is a question that has been on my heart for years – a little over 30 years, to be exact. As it was 30 years ago this past August when my mother traveled to Haiti for a month-long volunteer mission, working closely to provide direct training and assistance to a community of women and girls in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. When she returned, she set out across rural Western Kentucky to share the stories of her work and to raise support and awareness for the communities she helped in Haiti. I tagged along. And I vividly recall the charge she made to the audience at every assembly: Never stop asking "How can I help?".  

The question has certainly echoed more loudly for me in the days, weeks and months following the disastrous earthquake that hit the country on January 12, 2010.

Over a year has passed since the earthquake left hundreds of thousands of Haitians dead, injured, displaced and homeless. And while the rebuilding process is ongoing - clearly, as evidenced by the current cholera outbreak, Haiti remains in dire need of support.

And I now know how I can be of help.

On March 20th, 2011, I will join a team of service volunteers in Haiti for 2 weeks on a solidarity work project with Hearts With Haiti, Inc., a non profit organization committed to providing direct financial assistance to the children and young adults of St. Joseph’s Home in Port-au-Prince, Wings of Hope in Fermathe, and Trinity House in Jacmel.

The St. Joseph family lost two of its three homes in the earthquake and they are working very hard to "resurrect from the ruble".  To assist in this effort, Hearts With Haiti has partnered with Elevate Destinations to organize solidarity work service trips. For our service trip, my team and I will be doing rebuilding/construction and community outreach projects for Trinity House, which is located in Jacmel, a town 2.5 hours from Port-Au-Prince which suffered a great deal of damage during the earthquake. Approximately 70% of Jacmel’s buildings were demolished, with the poorest neighborhoods suffering the most severe destruction. Though St. Joseph Family’s Trinity House did not sustain significant damage, all development and construction was ceased in order to deal with the disaster. Trinity House was in mid-construction of classrooms and a computer room for their free community school when the earthquake hit. During my 14 days in Jacmel, I will be able to help make this computer lab and classroom a reality, work on the construction of a wall around the perimeter of the property and assist in the creation of the school's first community garden.

And here's how you can help.

It is my sincere wish that you join with me in supporting Hearts With Haiti and St. Joseph's rebuilding and community projects by making a donation.  In addition to serving as homes for young boys, St. Joseph’s/Trinity House offer rooms to host guests, spaces for artists' retreats and they run a number of community development and acclaimed art programs, including the Resurrection Dance TheaterThe St. Joseph family also reaches out to provide opportunities for the poorest of the poor children in their surrounding neighborhoods. Currently, they serve 32 girls from a nearby slum in Port-Au-Prince who attend school, 8 neighborhood children who participate in the community art center, 72 children attending the Lekol Sen Trinitie, 25 children in the Saturday Restavek program

The money you donate will go directly to Hearts With Haiti to cover labor, building materials and associated costs for the rebuilding efforts and to support the outreach and art programs. (Please note: we are NOT taking paying jobs away from locals. Our work is to assist and support the locally hired professional crews.) All of my costs for the trip are paid. No part of your donation will be used to cover any of my personal traveling costs or work expenses. I am also taking an extra duffle bag full of donated items.

You can make your donation online with a credit card. All donations are secure and sent directly to Hearts With Haiti, Inc. by FirstGiving, who will email you a printable record of your tax-deductible donation. Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure.

Thank you for visiting my fundraising page and please feel free to forward my page link along to anyone who you think may be moved to support and stand with Haiti.

"Anpil men, chay pa lou."  With many hands a load is not heavy.


In solidarity,


skype: melissa.thornton.1