Growing up we are always told to do something we love when we grow up.I loved helping people and I was going to help people by becoming a Physical Therapist. That was my plan and that is what I was going to. It was not until last summer however that discovered what really makes me happy, my purpose in life.
I discovered Haiti.
I could go on and on about how the negative connotations that come along with Haiti are SO far from the truth (that’s a story for another day). Haiti is a place full of love and community. The people are nothing but welcoming. Last summer, the day I arrived in Haiti happened to by my birthday. Meeting the people I would be staying with for the first time, I never would have expected in my wildest dreams that they would have thrown me a birthday party. OH WAS I WRONG. TiCarme, the major leader in the village, somehow, I am still unsure how, found out that it was my birthday and planned a party and made me a birthday cake. I instantly fell in love with the country. How often do you see a complete stranger throw someone they don’t know one bit a birthday party? Pretty much never. The next 5 days were nothing short of life changing. I experienced so much while in Haiti. I, my faith, and my passion for helping others grew immensely.
When it came to leave, I sat on the plane and cried. I did not want to leave. Although the friends I made there said they knew I would be back, God was telling them I would be, I honestly was unsure if I would ever be back and that broke my heart. How could I never return to the country and to the people that changed my life? I couldn’t. It was then that my cousin and I, with the help of our old church Pastor and his wife started to brainstorm. It was here that Help The Youth, a Haitian non-profit grew. Help The Youth i
Help The Youth is non-profit organization that is American funded and Haitian run. Money is raised to help pay the student’s annual school tuition fee. Being able to go to school in Haiti is considered an honor because not many families can afford the $250 fee. In addition to funding for tuition, we collect and donate school and health supplies to the local school and clinic in Neply Haiti and surrounding villages. Students from 4-5 villages often go to the same school.
We fundraise year around. A few weeks ago we had out first community fundraiser in my hometown of Holland, Michigan. It was a success. If you are interested in donating to Help The Youth, click here (Be sure to select Haiti in the drop down menu. Every sent donated goes directed to Haiti. No percentage of the donations are used to pay employees. We are also a tax exempt organization in Haiti, which means the organization
SIDE NOTE*****No percentage of the donations are used to pay organization employees. We are also a tax exempt organization in Haiti, which means the organization receives all of the money donated. No percentage goes to their government.
A few months following my trip to Haiti, I was asked to be a part of the Board of Directors for Help The Youth. The country that changed my life was now becoming a huge aspect of my life. A few weeks after that I found out I would be able to return to Haiti the following summer and mostly likely every summer following. At age 19, I was now a co-founder and member of the BOD of an international non-profit organization. Sometimes, the things that you never consider or never expect become the things that help you find your purpose.
Unlike most college students, I am not just a part of a club, the club is a part of me. Haiti and Help The Youth hold a special place in my heart. I am beyond blessed that God lead me to Haiti. If you feel lost, do not worry. God will show you the way to a place where you will discover yourself.