martes, 28 de abril de 2015

Moving Forward!

It has been an amazing couple of months since the blog was last updated! So much positive change and new experiences for the kids! We had a volunteer group come called Black Women Empowered who came and taught African dance for a day at our school. We quickly realized what a challenge it was communicating to a hundred kids spread out for exercises, as they wanted to clump and basically be touching the instructor, haha! The back room space is great because volunteers and leaders can stand up on an elevation to give space and better sight for the children. This element of our building proved helpful when two volunteers came to do fitness classes. It also introduced them to Jeffrey, who teaches drumming and dance lessons. Jeffrey plans on staying long term and continuing dance lessons on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, for children that have maintained a longer lasting interest into learning the art. Creative Arts is a powerful outlet for children in high risk situations as it lessens negative emotions and provides a safe environment. We are very thankful for our volunteers.

Montague Rotary Club from Prince Edward Island, Canada, has blessed us in donating books for the school! We have two pending book orders and are working towards an organized library system in the future. 

We have the incredible opportunity to send two teachers to Matenwa Community School for teacher training at the end of this month! They have also agreed to send two trainers to us in August so that the rest of the teachers get the training as well! This is such an incredible step towards bettering our schools and empowering our teachers as well.

Our fundraiser for our Padre Grenero School has raised $17,216 with  $927 left in matching funds! 5 days remaining! If you donate $1000 you get a classroom named after you. Three classes have been named so far and there are six yet to be named! We have some ways we want to bless those who are fighting for the purchase of this building with us. If you donate $100 you get a t-shirt. Every $10 enters your name into a free vacation raffle. The winner gets 12 RCI time share points! We are more than halfway to our goal and we can't do this without you all!

Give towards the school through this link! 

Thank you so much for your continued support of Project Esperanza. We have the incredible privilege of seeing life change every single day, and we wouldn't have that opportunity if it weren't for you.

domingo, 15 de marzo de 2015

Hope in Action!

Hello, all of you wonderful Project Esperanza supporters! My name is Emily and I am a long-term missionary volunteering with PE! My focus has been tutoring the kids that are falling behind in reading at the Padre Grenero School. So, every day I usually have about four to five students and we read one book in Creole and one in Spanish. Every child reads at a different pace, so each day is different. It’s amazing! I get to see progress educationally and observe how they socially interact with me. Now that they have gotten to know me, spending one on one time with the kids gives me the chance to pour that time solely into them; to encourage them, love them and get to know more about their lives.

This month, we had the honor of hosting two volunteer groups. They used their spring break to invest in this beautiful place, and
that is something we are so grateful for. They spent their time here working with the children at both schools and accomplishing many different projects for Project Esperanza. We had one group that painted the outside of the school with our logo, along with the phrases, “Paz para Hispaniola”, “Colegio Esperanza”, and “Juntos Somos Fuertes.”

We had the other group that educated the children of the importance of recycling and followed through by making really cool recycled trashcans. I see them used every day in the school. They also did physical activity and art projects. Science projects, art and
physical education are supplemental activities we invite volunteers to do in our grassroots schools that add to their curriculum in their native languages of Spanish and Haitian Creole.

We got to hold our first movie night in the new space! We popped popcorn and watched Princess Bride. Both volunteer groups were a part of this, and dozens of people from the community joined us.

We still have the indiegogo fundraiser going on with the goal of raising $20K toward the purchase of the school in 60 days! $2,245 amount has been raised with 47 days left. Please chip in if you haven't already!

We appreciate and honor you! Thank you for all that you have done, and will continue to do as you join us in the vision that God has given us. 

Thank you!

miércoles, 7 de enero de 2015

The Pressure is On!

The last post was a video about the fact that we are having to move out of our current space this month and hope to buy a nearby building currently used as a carpentry shop. Well, there have been some developments since this. 

The landlord has agreed to a deal. We pay 300,000 pesos as a deposit and he allows us to move in this month. He will continue to rent the outdoor area to a bus company, but we can move into the indoor area. If we pay the purchase price of the building within six months, the 300,000 will be deducted from the total, equaling 5.5 million pesos. If we pay within the year, half of the 300,000 will be deducted, equaling 5.65 million pesos. If we do not pay within the year, he can raise the price, we will have to pay another 300,000 for the following year if he decides to rent it to us again, and he can also sell the building to someone else if he chooses to. He said there were two other buyers interested but did not enter into much conversation with them since we had been talking to him about it for a year, so he figured he should continue with that route. 

Sooo.. it's fundraising time!!! 

The other thing is.. this year the two small Haitian schools in Los Dominguez both stopped functioning. They had talked about collaborating and Project Esperanza was going to rent a space for them to do this, but they just could not get their act together, someone important kept being in Haiti and holding things up, and things did not materialize. Throughout this school year, we have been approached by parents wanting to send their children to the school in Padre Granero, but not feeling as though they can pay the transportation money. Three students have aid through Project Esperanza for their motorcycle trip there and back each day. This is a dangerous option, but the only practical option price wise, unless the kids could be trusted to walk long distances to get to public transportation, which they can't. They would undoubtedly miss many days of school if they were expected to do this. 

So after several visits from certain families, we struck a deal. They are talking to the parents of 12 additional students and asking them each to commit to paying 100 pesos a week per child. They found this to be doable, but no higher. This, along with the motorcycle money we will no longer have to spend, will leave us needing 300 pesos a week to allow these 12 more students to go to school. The parents and kids so greatly want this as they have been turned away from the public school in Los Dominguez, are of school age, and are not in school. 300 pesos with a 44 peso to dollar exchange rate is $6.82.

I feel strange to request this when we have so much need in reference to funds for the new building, but after talking to parents so much, I don't see how I cannot request this. Please consider helping. Thank you! 

domingo, 23 de noviembre de 2014

A Very Belated, and Very Important Update!

3rd grade
This blog has been neglected. Busy, busy, busy. So much has gone on with the school since the last post. Summer camp was the best ever, and this school year has been the best ever as well.October attendance shows 152 students in regular attendance at the school!! The bad news is, only 39 of them
Kindergarten teacher at recess
are sponsored!! More good news is some partnerships we have been forming. Center for Research and Education in New York City did a teacher training in August, a restaurant in the area donates rice for school meals, Faith, Hope, and Joy Foundation and Love United complete the rest, pay the
Morning director with students
cook, and provide oversight. Praise God! 

So the biggest news is explained in the Facebook post below:

Camp zoo trip, July 2014
WARNING: A challenge and rant. Alright, I hope to convey to the many of you who have worked with the school in Padre Granero in some respect and who love the kids and teachers there, the urgency that I feel. On Jan. 24th 2015, we have to move out of the current space that has the playground pictured in this group's photo.
"My School" drawing contest
n the area and this is the one! This is why I set up the Recycle for Padre Granero group and kids have been chipping in fundraising through recycling, and now through a "My School" t-shirt design contest which will be on t-shirts sent to anyone who donates $100+ for the new building. Anyway, I
"Little store" rewards
think we have to have the serious, collective, committed goal of purchasing this place by the time camp 2015 starts...which is the last week in June. I know we can do it!! I want to do some monthly fundraiser challenges that people can do in their respective cities. I know we
School meals
are all scattered all over the place which makes things harder, but I urge you to please be bold and confident! We can do it and the cause is oh so worthy! When we first came here in 2006 and conducted a street census, we easily created 140 profiles for kids working on the streets, the majority of whom were Haitians living in Padre Granero, NONE of whom (among the Haitians) were in school. And there were plenty of kids we
Jodi from Love United
did not get profiles on as well. I am happy to say that the situation is not the same today!! We should do a follow up census. That will be a goal for 2015. But the fact is that we have worked to combat the situation where these kids had very little to no access to school and have come a long way! We
Recycling project
have to finish what we started. We need our own building, and we need to get accredited... which having our own building is one of the main requirements for that. We need to turn this school into something that will last. Having the building will make that much more of a reality. So I posted the
Supesta soccer team
brochure about the vacation raffle. Never has a post reached so many people as that post did on the FB page. So the interest is high! We just have to get out and sell! Can we get some friendly competition going over who can sell the most tickets? Also, back in the day, we used to sell mistletoe on
Teacher training
VT campus around Christmastime. I had to call around to several places to find someone who had it, but he sold a few branches and we cut it up into bundles tied with ribbon, which if I remember correctly, we sold for $5 each. So this is my late Nov./Dec. fundraising challenge for the purpose of fundraising for the
EM, Cherline, and campers
new school building: Sell vacation raffle tickets (drawing Dec. 18th) and sell bundles of mistletoe! At school, at church, at work, at a stand in a public place like the creative! And again, be bold and confident! This is a worthy cause! And it deserves to be known! Billions and billions of dollars are raised for medical research through which a cure might be possible and made
Camp game
accessible to a small percentage of the world's population. I am thankful for that too and am not saying those funds should not be raised. But I am just saying that the turnover is a lot more distant there than funds going directly to affecting a child's life HERE and
Faith, Hope, & Joy clinic

NOW. Many are concerned about global warming and overpopulation and other issues but the biggest problem I have seen in front of me for the past 8 years for the country of Haiti and the places like Puerto Plata where Haitian people seek refuge and the burden/responsibility that that places on this city is... the need for loving
Joanne ran a great camp!
and nurturing human development. I spent a large chunk of today crying after watching a video of a woman here beating a child. Maybe torturing is a better word. It was on the news here and I am sorry I ever saw it. We know cases like that happen in the US too but the truth is that Haitians in general have a lot of abuse instilled in's a vicious cycle that can make things really hard and dysfunctional. How does that ever change?
TLC. TLC. TLC. Consistency. Proper examples. I want for them the love and nurturing environment that I grew up with..that we all did who grew up in the US and Canada. With our large classrooms, teachers who use proper punishments, creative games that make learning fun, science experiments, awesome libraries, and all of that! God bless it I want it for them too. Please don't drop out of the group, I'm not angry, just sharing with you the pressures that are on me here and the urgency that I feel. Go team go!

lunes, 21 de abril de 2014

Highlights from this Trimester

This past week was Holy Week and there was no school. Right before Holy Week marks the end of the 2nd trimester of the school year. Here are some pictures and highlights from this trimester:

Solar Energy Lessons & Shoe Box Solar Ovens!

Community BINGO

Delta Sigma Theta got passports for 4 of our students, 3 parents, and 1 teacher

Students filled out "About Me" pages to share with sponsors. 

Students got to try peanut butter and banana sandwiches

One generous donor provided groceries for a single mother of our students who just had surgery

Our adult night classes are full of students! 

Wanbert and Caitlin participated in Creole reading hour at a new library in Nuevo Renacer

SuperStar soccer team played a few games and even had a fan club of volunteers at one!

Now we're into the last semester and the last month of study time for our sixth grade students going to the national exam in Haiti in about a month. We're all also looking forward to summer English camp

Thanks for reading!

martes, 1 de abril de 2014

Recognition of Empowerment

Teachers were paid on time today again. This year we have a perfect record so far for the first time since 2008! (Last year was close to a perfect record, but we were late some months.) Paying teachers on time makes such a difference. They feel more secure, understandably and have a much more positive presence at school as a result. However, I think that God may have had a purpose in these years of backed up teacher pay. 

Today I met with Vladimir, the new morning director in Padre Granero, and Wanbert, the prior director and co-founder, who is still a teacher. They recently formed a committee among the older students in the school and have been teaching them about taking responsibility over some things in the school and learning to manage things as well. They led them each to make a small contribution of money, with one of them being the treasurer and money handler. They then used this money to purchase jugs of water so that water is always available for drinking in the school. This is an expense that the organization has not covered, but they found it to be a need that the school had. We also have some donated fortified rice and recently purchased a stove, pot, plates, and utensils. We have some oil as well. We mainly lack the ingredients to make a sauce to serve with the rice. 
This month our students learned about solar energy and constructed show boe solar ovens, along with one out of plywood!

Wanbert suggested that we ask for the participation of each student to complete the ingredients and get started serving school meals. Vladimir thought that that may not go over well, and we should leave the contributions to just the water. I think we agreed to follow Vladimir's ideas in the end, but Wanbert's reasoning for wanting to solicit the participation of students was gratifying. 

He said that he didn't used to think the way that he does now. But he realizes that when he accomplishes something for himself and provides something for himself, it is better than if he relies on others to give to him, or expects others to give to him. When everything is given to you, it actually weakens you rather than strengthens you. He said that Project Esperanza hasn't been able to provide him with everything, but he has received much formation and personal and professional development through working with the organization, and that is what he wants to pass along to the kids. 

I was astounded. Real, true collaboration and trust between those we are helping and those who are giving has taken years.. but I saw some light bulbs light up today. It's great to know that school leadership is finally teaching the kids to truly respect those sacrificing to make the school run, and encouraging them to "pay it forward". 

We have many students who still are not sponsored and more kids continue to register this far along in the school year. If you haven't already, please consider sponsoring one of our students for $100 a year. E-mail for more information.