Pillowcase Dresses, Pencil Cases and Jamming

I went to a wonderful orphanage with my friend Sarah Griffith on Saturday. It was the most impressive orphanage I have experienced in Haiti. The children ran up to greet us, each saying bonjou and kissing us on the cheeks. They were clean, fully clothed, healthy, happy, well mannered and just a joy to be around. Sarah had brought a bunch of pillowcase dresses for the girls and they had a wonderful time taking turns to select their new outfits. There were enough for each girl to make 3 choices.

Then, all of the children picked out a canvas pencil case that I had brought and they used fabric markers to personalize them. The children attend school at the orphanage. The director, Marie Yveline Adam, actually brings proper teachers in to teach the children! It was amazing.

Lastly, Sarah brought a final surprise; a guitar, electronic keyboard and two drums! A jam session ensued with all of us, children and adults, complete with crazy singing, dancing and drumming. It was one of the highlights of my 3 weeks.

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A short video of our jam session:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10153265261705008

Backpack Distribution Day

All of the hard work and donations paid off yesterday! We headed up the mountain to Ecole Fessart to distribute over 110 backpacks with school supplies. The director of the school, Josue, went around to the community to make sure that all of the children registered for school would be there. It became quite a community event with an audience watching the distribution. It was so wonderful to see this come to fruition and watch the children proudly wearing their new backpacks! They are ready for school to start in 2 weeks.
After the backpacks, we took some of the children into the tent to give them pillowcase dresses or shorts and socks thanks to Sarah Griffith. Then all of the children were given a treat of a pack of Oreos and juice. A meal of rice and beans was served to all of them after we left.
Yesterday was a reminder of why I am here, to attempt to make the lives of children a little bit brighter. This was one of the best days of my trip so far.
Thank you to everyone that helped make this possible!

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Less Than 3 Weeks to Go!

With less than 3 weeks to go, here is a little pictorial update on the progress being made. Thanks to incredible and generous donations of many people this little dream is going to be a reality! I am confident that not only will 120 very deserving Haitian children start the new school year off right with new backpacks and school supplies, but the school will also be set with art and craft supplies for a year of creative fun! Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone for your continued support!
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Additionally, the dream of starting a little library in the school is coming to fruition. We have a growing collection of children’s books in French to bring to the school in addition to the backpacks, school supplies and craft supplies.  Books in Haitian Creole and French are greatly appreciated. There is a good selection picked out on the Be The Hope Amazon Wish List. Most of the items on the Wish List include free shipping on orders over $25.00 and they are shipped directly to us!  http://amzn.com/w/FU237H4GPEN3
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Thank you to everyone for your continued support!

Backpacks and pencils and pens. Oh my!

A little over a month to go and we’re going strong! Our goal to bring 120 filled backpacks to Ecole Fessart looks like it is going to be a success! But, we still need your help!

The most needed items for the backpacks are:
24 count crayons
Composition notebooks
Pink erasers
Blue or black ballpoint pens

The needed items for classroom supplies are:
Markers
Colored pencils
Scissors
Glue sticks
Construction paper

Feel free to contact us via Facebook or email: info@bethehopehaiti.org.

Thank you!

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Our New Fundraising Campaign for Haiti

Our new fundraising campaign for the Ecole Fessart project just went live! Here’s the information:

OUR MISSION


Be The Hope is a registered non profit organization in the State of Arizona (with the hope of becoming a recognized 501(c)3 organization in the near future!) with a mission to provide backpacks full of school supplies to children in Haiti. We believe that education is a human right, not a privilege.


THE IMPACT

In Haiti, 55% of the population lives below the poverty line of $1.25 per day. Due to the cost of school fees, school supplies, and uniforms many families can’t afford to send their children to school.
We believe if all Haitian children had access to an education, their potential to both end the cycle of poverty and contribute to the recovery of Haiti would increase. According to UNICEF, education contributes to greater civic participation and helps to combat youth violence, sexual harassment and human trafficking. It also results in a range of health benefits including lower infant mortality, reduced domestic violence and improved child nutrition. For many Haitian children, a school lunch is the only meal that they can count on receiving all day. Education can foster social empowerment, enabling an entire generation to become economically independent and positive contributors to society. Education is an important part of the successful rebuilding of Haiti.

We just returned from Haiti on May 28, 2013. While there, we worked with children from Agape Orphanage, La Main Tendre (LMT) Orphanage, Frem Orphanage, and Mix Emmanuel Primary School. We brought clothing and shoes for the children, hosted a “pool” party and picnic for the children at LMT Orphanage, and distributed 85 filled backpacks to children at Frem Orphanage and Mix Emmanuel Primary School. 

THE NEXT PROJECT

Ecole Fessart is located in the mountains high above Petionville, Haiti. 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 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. We understand that some people just can’t contribute financially, but you can still help us reach our goal!

· Please tell ALL of your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues about our cause and this campaign.
· Share this campaign with your email lists and social media contacts.
· Become a fan of our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/bethehopehaiti
· Follow our blog on www.bethehopehaiti.wordpress.com
· Visit our website www.bethehopehaiti.org
· Check out our Amazon Wish List for additional needed items: http://amzn.com/w/FU237H4GPEN3
· Set up your own fundraising event to benefit Be The Hope’s mission!

Link to GoFundMe campaign: http://www.gofundme.com/3apc58

Please help us help children in Haiti!

Our First Backpack Shipment For Haiti

We received our first shipment of 50 backpacks yesterday! I will be bringing them with me next month for the children that we’re helping in Cite Soleil. The Backpack Drive is still underway at Desert Mountain High School and we’re hoping to receive backpack donations this Saturday at the FUNdraising Carnival. While I don’t think we’ll make our original goal of 150, I am very happy with what we’ve accomplished thus far. The collecting will continue upon my return as we already have 2 schools lined up that would like our help.

ImageWe’ve had a little change of plans regarding the school supplies. I’m planning on purchasing the school supplies for the backpacks in Haiti. The original plan was to bring the filled backpacks with me. However, we have received SO MANY generous donations of clothing and shoes for the kiddos that I want to make sure to bring as many with me on this trip as possible. Unfilled backpacks are much lighter than filled ones and I am trying to keep my checked bags to a maximum of 3, so unfilled backpacks it is! Also, if I am able to purchase the supplies in country and not pay a premium, I like that we’ll be helping the local economy. Nothing about this venture is written in stone, so if it doesn’t work well this time we’ll go back to the drawing board for the next trip.

BTH: Haiti Upcoming Events

Monday, March 18

Our first Backpack Drive is officially underway at Desert Mountain High School! Over the course of the next few weeks students can donate new and gently used backpacks for children in Haiti. Monetary donations are also being accepted through the school in the form of checks made payable to DMHS with Be the Hope Haiti Club in the memo line. Monetary donations will be used to buy school supplies to fill the backpacks. The homeroom that donates the most backpacks will enjoy a Dunkin’ Donuts party on us!

If you would like to organize a Backpack Drive at your school, church, office, etc. please contact us! info@bethehopehaiti.org.

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Thursday, March 21

Be The Hope:Haiti will be at the Fountain Hills Farmers Market this Thursday (3/21/2013). We will be accepting monetary and backpack donations. We ask that the backpacks be either new or gently used (no holes, all zippers working, no tears, etc.) Monetary donations will be used to purchase school supplies to fill the backpacks. With beautiful 80 degree weather, we can’t think of a better way to spend a Thursday afternoon!Image

Saturday, April 13

On Saturday, April 13 from 10:00 – 4:00 we will be at the First Cyclovia Fountain Hills! The town of Fountain Hills, Arizona, will be closing several of its downtown streets to vehicular traffic, including the famed and aptly named Avenue of the Fountains. Cyclovia Fountain Hills is a free public event, welcoming cycling enthusiasts, walkers, runners, skaters, strollers, pets, and all others to come experience our “open streets” to meet their neighbors, learn about their community, take part in a variety of physical activities, and enjoy plenty of local vendors, food and drinks.

The goal of Cyclovia is to bring families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets of Fountain Hills while participating in healthy, active living through a series of activities, demonstrations and entertainment, including:

“Art Walk” on the Avenue
Guided Hiking Tours of Fountain Park Overlook Trail
Bicycle Safety and Helmet Fitting Workshops
FREE Yoga, Pilates and Zumba Classes
Kids Tricycle Races
Rock Climbing
Bicycle Decorating Stations
Photo Booths
FREE Bicycle Tune-Ups and Repairs
Dance Clinics and Demonstrations
Farmers Market
Food from Local Restaurants and Vendors
Live Music and Entertainment
Beer Garden
Museum Tours
And much more on the way!

Once again, we will be accepting monetary and backpack donations at this event. We’re really excited to be a part of this “first” event in Fountain Hills! http://cycloviafountainhills.com/

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