Our Next Project: Ecole Fessart

Ecole Fessart is located in the mountains high above Petionville. It is an extremely poor area and it’s up a very steep mountain, which makes it difficult to reach. There are approximately 120 children attending the school. They currently have no permanent building. Classes are held in a tent that does not protect the interior from the elements. There are bare dirt floors and the school benches rot very easily from the rain and constant moisture. However, the children attend school even under these conditions. The head of the school is a lovely 29 year old man working in very difficult circumstances, but he is committed to the school and the children. There are a total of 6 teachers that are very rarely paid as there are no funds to do so. Through my friend Sarah’s amazing work, the school is provided with food once a month via a sponsor that she secured. This ensures that the children have at least one meal per day during the school week.

Our immediate goal is to bring backpacks and school supplies for all of the 120 children to be delivered at the start of the new school year in September. Additionally, since the school has nothing, we would also like to bring any other classroom supplies (i.e. chalk, chalkboard erasers, art and craft supplies, etc.) that we know will go to good use.

Our goal is to provide the following wish list items to each child:

  • 1 – backpack
  • 1 – hand pencil sharpener
  • 1 – 24 pack of crayons
  • 2 – 100 count Composition Notebooks
  • 1 – pencil case
  • 1 – eraser or pencil top erasers
  • 5 – ballpoint pens (blue or black)
  • 6 – number 2 pencils
  • 1 – 12″ ruler

We are confident that we can achieve this goal, but we will need assistance. Here are some ways that you can help us reach our goal:

Checks should be made payable to:

Be The Hope, Inc.

9767 N. Baylor Drive

Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

  • Host a school supply drive at your child’s school, daycare, office, church or business
  • Pick up some extra school supplies from our wish list while doing your own back to school shopping
  • Fundraise by holding a car wash, bake sale, rummage sale, etc.
  • Share this with your friends via social media
  • Local donations of school supplies can either be dropped off at the above address (there is a collection bin out front) or we will pick them up!

Please contact us with any questions, comments or suggestions! Thank you in advance for your help and support!










There’s No Turning Back Now!

Not that I would have anyway, but my flight is booked, my reservation is made at Haiti Communitere, and I’m getting ready for my immunizations! It’s been over a year since I have been trying to get to Haiti and I’m now a little more than a month away from stepping foot on  Haitian soil!

I spun my wheels for the better part of last year trying to find the right organization to travel with. While there are MANY organizations out there, I wanted to find the right one for me. So many have a religious affiliation, which is fine, but it’s not what I was looking for. Others are very expensive; they seem more like vacationing than volunteering  I finally found one that I thought would be a good fit, they don’t have a religious affiliation, they are very reasonably priced, and they work with children in safe houses, but trying to get them to respond to my inquiries was like pulling teeth. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time “chasing” them when I should have made the decision to go alone a lot earlier. As soon as I made that decision, everything fell into place.

We’re working on our final push for donations prior to leaving on May 14. We have the Cyclovia Fountain Hills event on 4/13, our Children’s Carnival FUNdraiser on 4/20, our BackPack Drive is still going on at Desert Mountain High School, and clothing, shoe and backpack donations are still rolling in.

If you would like to help, please contact us at info@bethehopehaiti.org.

Thank you!

We love the idea of #FundraisingFriday! Please join the movement and consider making one of your #FundraisingFriday donations to Be The Hope.

Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits

9ac04faad50a11e2be5722000a1fac35_7#FundraisingFriday is a campaign meant to inspire individuals to commit to donating $10 to one of their favorite nonprofits every Friday. First tweeted in May 2012 from @NonprofitOrgs, the #FundraisingFriday hashtag has since then been tweeted and retweeted thousands of times.

If you are a nonprofit, using the #FundraisingFriday hashtag is a simple way to ask for your supporters to donate and hopefully you’ll be able to convert a few fans, followers, and friends into donors.

If you are a donor, please post the name and website of the nonprofit that you donated to below. I’ll do my best to help get the word out about your generosity and your favorite nonprofits. Also, each Friday through the end of 2013 I am going to donate $10 to one of my Favorite Nonprofits. I hope you join me – if not every Friday, then at least one Friday a month. 🙂

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Fountain Hills Times Article

Seek backpacks for Haiti
By: Barbara Charzuk, Times Reporter
March 6, 2013

Before the devastating 2010 earthquake, Haiti ranked the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

If possible, living conditions have worsened. More than half of the population lives below the poverty line of $1.25 per day. An estimated 350,000 displaced persons exist in temporary tent shelters. Nearly 4,000 schools affecting 2.5 million students have been damaged or destroyed.

Educating the children can break the cycle of poverty, believes Heather Hinze, a single mother who has launched a non-profit organization.

“It’s become my passion. A new generation of educated Haitians can help build a country of self-sufficient, positive contributors to society. The future of Haiti depends on the children,” said Hinze.

She has lived in town since 2004.

Her desire to make a difference evolved after reading the book “Start Something That Matters” by Blake Mycoskie.

“It really resonated with me. There are all these great stories about what people are doing and I thought, ‘I’m going to do something.’ ”

When she lost her job of 11 years with a mutual fund company last year, she decided that the perfect opportunity had come to become involved.

She and her 16-year-old daughter Madison brainstormed about what path to take.

“I knew it would surround children,” said Hinze, a licensed foster mother. “I thought what can I tackle? Nobody was really handling education and it fit perfectly with my passion for children.”

Her favorite Mahatma Gandhi quote — “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” — further motivated her.

She learned that many Haitian families can’t afford to send their children to school because of the cost of school fees, school supplies, and uniforms.

She created “Be the Hope,” a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a backpack of school supplies to Haitian youngsters.

“I liked the idea of actually giving a child hope to fulfill their dreams by what you’re providing to them.”

She has partnered with Future for the Kids at Haiti Communitere, a disaster relief organization that assists a number of projects. The compound provides accommodations ranging from tents to rooms in the main building, drinking water and 24-hour security.

For starters, Hinze has “adopted” 60 boys and girls between the ages of one and 14 years old in two orphanages, Agape Orphanage and La Main Tendre Orphanage, in Port-au-Prince.

She plans to take as many backpacks as she can of school supplies, plus new and used clothing and shoes. She is limiting her personal items to one carry-on bag and will pack two large suitcases of the backpacks and clothing up to the 50 pounds allowed by the airlines.

“I don’t want to go empty-handed,” said Hinze, who considers her first trip as a learning and fact-finding experience.

“I want to work with people there and find out what they need and tailor needs around them,” said Hinze.

Buying school supplies may be less costly in Haiti than shipping the products from the United States to Haiti, she said.

She is funding her own trip, estimated to cost about $1,500. Her plan is to stay in a tent without running water to save money. She has been fundraising on the website Indiegogo, Facebook and Twitter to collect money for her charity.

Donations can be mailed to her home address, 9767 N. Baylor Drive, Fountain Hills, 85268. More information also is provided on her website at  http://www.bethehopehaiti.org.

Needed supplies

Each backpack will include a hand pencil sharpener, a box of 24-count crayons, two 100-page composition notebooks; 12-count Number 2 pencils; a pencil case; eraser; 10-pack ball point pens and a 12-inch ruler.

She eventually hopes to collect chalk, chalkboard erasers; soccer balls; art and crafts supplies; scissors; construction paper, glue and colored pencils. Monetary gifts also can go toward buying books in Haitian-Creole, French or English languages in Haiti.


We’re Live!

It’s been an exciting week! Our website is live! http://www.bethehopehaiti.org It is my first attempt at “building” a website and, although it’s not perfect, I am very proud of myself! I officially contacted some of my friends and family to let them know what I am doing and passed along my web address, Facebook page and blog info. Thirty eight likes on Facebook already! I’ve also had more views on my blog in the past few days. Baby steps!

I created a Twitter account, but I have never tweeted before in my life! I’m waiting for my teenage daughter to help me out with my first tweet.

Our first crowdsourced fundraising campaign is in the works. I have been agonizing over it; I want to make sure it perfectly tells potential donors what it is I hope to accomplish. I also have a few “perks” in the works that donors can choose from at 3 different donation levels. My hope is to launch it sometime next week. My goal is to raise $4,000.00 (so scary!) which will allow me to purchase 150 filled backpacks needed to help the kids that Frantz works  with.

If you would like to help with our cause, here are some ideas and THANK YOU!

The Backpack Project

I have spent a good amount of time researching what to include in the backpacks. I have also struggled with whether or not to purchase the items in the U.S. and ship to Haiti (shipping and customs????) or buy the items in country. I have determined that I can get more for my money by purchasing them here and shipping them there. Assuming all goes well with my first shipment, that will be the route I continue to take, but you never know what will happen!

I have learned a lot from speaking with people that are already “in the trenches”. My initial idea was to have the backpack contain enough school supplies to last one school year. I have since found out that, while it’s a noble idea, it’s not practical. I did not take into account the living conditions in Haiti. The fact of the matter is many of the children that I hope to help live in tents and/or shacks that are not secure. The backpacks could be stolen, they could be sold for money to feed the family, they could be eaten on by rats and they could be ruined, damaged or swept away by rain water (which is a common occurrence in Haiti because the homes are not secure) . That said, I am still 100% committed to the need and desire to provide them to children that need them the most. However, I have scaled down the contents a bit.

Each will contain:

1 – Backpack

1 – Hand pencil sharpener

1 – 24 count crayons

2 – 100 count composition notebooks

1 – 12 pack of pencils

1 – pencil bag

1 – eraser

1 – 10 pack of pens

1 – 12″ ruler

I am partnering with a supplier in the U.S. that will even assemble the backpacks for me per my specifications! A complete backpack with all of the above supplies will only cost $25.00! (I spend more on a backpack alone for my daughter!) Each full-size backpack measures 16.50″H x 13.125″W x 8.25″D. They have one large top loading compartment with double zippers, two front zipper pockets and one velcro pocket. I am so happy to have found them!

My goal is to raise enough funds to purchase 150 backpacks to give to the children that Frantz (Future for the Kids) works with. It looks like my trip will take place in May, so I don’t have a lot of time to achieve this goal. I am hoping to have my fundraising campaign up and running by February 28 at the latest. Meanwhile, I am still collecting donations of new and gently used children’s clothing and shoes to take with me as well. If my fundraising surpasses my goal, I have many more ideas and many more children that are in need of help! There is chalk and chalkboard erasers to buy for the classrooms, art and craft supplies such as markers, colored pencils, construction paper, scissors, etc. (I have set up an Amazon Wish List for these. Search “Be The Hope, Inc.” under Wish List.) soccer balls, and I would LOVE to be able to purchase a portable library of books for one school. Lofty goals, I know!