Exploration

Haiti Round 3… but with a twist

Three years ago this upcoming July I will have been part of an organization called Help The Youth Haiti for 3 years. Only a year after I helped grow this organization I took on a leadership role. I hope this role still to today. The role was to plan and facilitate the activities and events that group would be doing when we all traveled to Haiti in July. Originally I thought this role was going to be easy. I have held similar roles in the last so I wasn’t too worried. Little to my knowledge, it was a lot more difficult than anything I have every done. thumbnail_FullSizeRender

My biggest struggle in this role was communication. By that, I mean communication to our Haitian counterparts. Language wasn’t a problem because most of the people we work with in Haiti know English. The hard part was being able to maintain regular communication. This was due to their limited access to Internet and phone. But yet, another obstacle was thrown my way. As many know a hurricane hit Haiti earlier this year. Any forms of communication they had was now gone. We went weeks without knowing how thigs were, let alone if our friends were still alive. 

Despite the many obstacles thrown my way, this has been a great experience. This upcoming July the trip will consist of a few new events. We will be running a free CPR and first Aid seminar in order to teach people how to respond in emergencies. We will also be planning and facilitation vacation bible school for the children and a pastor’s conference for the pastors in the community. Unfortunately, I am not able to travel to Haiti this July due to academic reasons ( I will be taking physics 2), however, I chose to remain actively involved in my role. jkjkj

This experience has taught me to patient and willing to adapt. Things don’t always work out they way they are planned. Also, this experience has taught me to be creative. The supplies, money, and resources available to us were a lot more limited than I was aware of prior to taking on this role. Thus, when planning events such as vacation bible school, where craft supplies are usually found in surplus, I had to be creative in coming up with crafts that would use only construction power, popsicle sticks, and 4 bottles of glue. thumbnail_IMG_4486

I’m disappointed that I cannot travel to Haiti this summer. However, I remain in contact with my friends. The bond I have formed while in Haiti have only grown stronger since the first time I’ve been there. My involvement and leadership role Help The Youth has been one of the most benefiting, eye-opening experiences of my life. It has taught me so much as about my myself. You may think that it is a little dramatic when I say that this organization and the people I have met have changed my perspective on life. 

OH OH OH! We are also in the progress of trying to get a few of our friends passports to come to the U.S.

STAY TUNED!! 

Project UNIFY

Normally I try to come up with some creative blog title, but in this case I decided to be direct Project Unify is an outstanding program and I want to get its name out there! If you haven’t worked with Special Olympics AT LEAST ONCE, you’re missing out. 14732402_10208542498693537_6141825387487114860_n

I’m a junior in college and for the past 3 years, every fall, I participate in Project Unify. Project Unify is a program through Special Olympics Michigan. My involvement in this program is as a facilitator. I, along with 20 or so other college students, volunteered a few nights a week for a few weeks to prep for this program. The event itself is one day and was hosted at a hotel conference center right here in Mt.Pleasant. The day consisted of leadership challenges, problem-solving, team-work, games, crafts, dancing, and FUN. Project UNIFY is directed toward students both with and without different abilities.

I had the honor of facilitating team PLUTO PURPLE! My team was very involved in all the activities and always had something to say when questions were asked. It always tough to have a group that doesn’t actively participate and thus I was ecstatic that my group was so involved in what we were doing.

One of my favorite activities had to do with communication. There was a group of sports balls in a pile in the middle of the room. Around the pile of balls were the students standing in a circle.  Each student was given a number. The goal was to find the ball with the matching number. We did this 2 or 3 times. However, each time there were different rules. The first time, everyone was able to talk. The second time, no one was able to talk, and the third time, only 3 or 4 people were able to talk. These different scenarios helped to teach the students that in different, situations different types of communication may be the most suitable; sometimes it is important to actively communicate, and sometimes it is best to sit back and let others speak.

Being a part of this program is always a pleasure. The students show so much passion. The desire to take what they learned at the workshop and bring it back to their own school is amazing to see! Each year I see familiar faces from the year before and that has to be one of my favorite things, knowing that these students want to keep coming back.

Destination Haiti: Round 2 of many

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 IMG_0999Therapist. 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 noIMG_1147thing 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.

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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 schooIMG_0943l 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.

IMG_1041A 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 hIMG_1012elp 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.

 

 

Haiti: A country rich with love

Two weeks ago my cousin and I went on a mission trip to Haiti. The trip was life changing to say the least. Check out the videos below to see what we were up to on our trip!

Possibly interested in joining us on a trip to Haiti? Feel free to contact me with any questions!

Interested in donating to the Mission and helping send students to school visit Beautiful Response and click donate to Help The Youth.

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