The Students of St. Raymond

By Patricia Brintle

My parish of St. Luke in Whitestone has been generous to From Here to Haiti from the very beginning.  The pastor, Monsignor John Tosi, helped fund our first project and donated countless statues that now adorn many churches in Haiti.  This past Christmas, my parish came through again by adding From Here to Haiti, Ltd. to the St. Luke Annual Christmas Giving Tree run by the Disciples in Mission group.  My coordinators were Judy Deangelis and Diane Cantatore.  Thanks to them about ten parishes in Haiti received soccer balls, basket balls, tennis rackets, badminton sets and scooters.  This past April, I visited St. Raymond School in Anse d’Hainault and had the pleasure of witnessing the fruits of the giving tree.

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College St. Raymond is a school of about 500 students and stands half-way up a hill, overlooking the bay and surrounded by trees and because of its location, a constant breeze flows through the classrooms.  We arrived as the recess bell rang and watched a flood of blue uniforms spring from each classroom.  The children surrounded us and we soon realized that they already knew who we were.  They thanked us for the gifts that were sent a couple of months earlier and showed us a couple of acrobatics on the scooter they had received, making sure to inform us that they were the only school in the area with one of those.  I smiled, thanking in my heart the Disciples in Mission of Whitestone.

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I cannot thank Monsignor Tosi and the parishioners of St. Luke enough for their support.  Through their generosity they have made so many children – and adults – very happy.

We need your help – Volunteer – Donate   http://www.fromheretohaiti.org

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A view from the starting line

By Ellen Rhatigan

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I can’t believe how quickly “From Here to Haiti” has grown!  Pat asked me to go, sort of out of the blue, after a choir rehearsal in the Summer of 2010. Without much thought I said, “Sure, why not?” I had some vacation days to take and where else would I go but a country torn apart by politics and covered in rubble, only six months after the devastating earthquake?!  I still don’t know what made me say “Yes.”  We were not yet a formed organization with a purpose, by-laws and mission statement, just four people who wanted to see if and how we could help.

I expected that trip to be traumatic, filled with sadness at the overwhelming poverty and devastation of Haiti.  Now, don’t get me wrong, that was there in full, but it was only a piece of an amazing experience.  The dire circumstances that surrounded us could not drown out the absolute natural beauty of the land, the resilience of the people, the adventures of traveling across the country, and the desires of so many people there wishing to make a difference in their country.  There are so many stories to tell.  Stay tuned…

We need your help – Volunteer – Donate   http://www.fromheretohaiti.org

My thoughts about FHTH

By Joanne Weir

When I think about From Here To Haiti, I think about its members, and the passion they have towards helping people.

Sure non-profits raise money to get something done.  Sounds simple, right?  NO. It’s not at all that simple!  The members of From Here To Haiti are not only executives running a non-profit organization, they are also  the administrators, schedulers, fundraisers and foot workers going from door to door; collectors and shippers of items in need; repairers, painters and sculptors of broken statues for Haitian Churches.  Their “to-do” list is never-ending, and that is all before they plan their trip, meet up with other volunteers in Haiti, lay out the plans, and then start the physical part of the job!  It’s exhausting; but to them, it’s exhilarating!

From the moment a job is decided upon, From Here to Haiti members start to sweat. Their sweat increases their passion, and like their “to-do” list, their passion does not cease.  Hundreds of organizations are researched for grants; hundreds of calls, texts, emails, postal mailings are made to raise more funds or for donations of laptops, statues, clothing, and whatever else is needed to help people. Every donation, whether it be $1 or $100 is appreciated with gratitude.  And, don’t forget, there are many, many obstructions that need attention in order for them to progress.  When a job is completed, you see on their website exactly what was done.  This is the simple part:  another job completed because of love.

I do not know much about non-profit groups helping Haiti rebuild except for what I read in the media.  Sometimes the news is positive; sometimes it’s negative.  From Here To Haiti is very different to me because I know two of the members personally.  I see with my own eyes and feel inside my heart the passion that my friends have towards rebuilding and improving living conditions in a place very close to their hearts.  I get to see what their process involves in raising whatever money and materials they can so that they can help rebuild even a small portion of what Mother Nature’s destroyed in communities.  The hope and faith of the people affected by this destruction are no doubt reinforced as From Here To Haiti lands on their soil.

We need your help – Volunteer – Donate   http://www.fromheretohaiti.org

A Word From A Volunteer

A Word From A Volunteer by Cindy Similien-Johnson
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In March 2013, I came across a newspaper article in the Amsterdam News. After reading the article, I realized that it was two months old! The article mentioned a self-taught artist who was of Haitian descent. Immediately, my attention was undivided. Both of my parents are Haitian, and I recall my own mother’s artistic endeavors in fashion and art. As I was reading the article, I felt moved. I wanted to be a part of this great organization that helped repair churches, which are sanctuaries for many people — places to get away from the doldrums of life. The organization’s name was “From Here to Haiti.” It sounded like a title of a poem, or of a short story. I read through the entire article without stopping, and, to my delight, there was a request for volunteers. Ever since the earthquake in Haiti, I wanted to help the people, but I didn’t know how else I could help. I remember weeks after the earthquake I sang at a benefit concert to raise money, but ever since then, I haven’t been able to contribute in a consistent basis. I wanted to do more.
 
 
I immediately sent an email to Ms. Patricia Brintle, the artist behind From Here to Haiti. Due to conflicting schedules, it took another two months before we finally met. We met in May 2013 at a Startbucks in downtown Brooklyn to further discuss how I could offer my skills and talents. One of the ways I helped was to create this blog! It felt like I had known Patricia for a long time. I believe all Haitian people, including those in the diaspora, are connected. We are like raindrops that fall in different places of the world, but come from the same source, the clouds. I look forward to helping out From Here to Haiti with future projects in any way I can!

Welcome!

Welcome to From Here to Haiti, Ltd.!

We are a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation doing repair work of non-governmental public spaces in Haiti.  We seek to create local employment opportunities and promote self sufficiency for the people of Haiti through that repair work.  We were formed in the aftermath of the earthquake of January 12th, 2010 to respond to the need for repairs and concentrate our work in the provinces.

Please select the About us tab to learn more about the organization.

We will share our experiences with you through this blog.  Follow us.