Dinner Dance Fundraiser

Our Third Dinner Dance fundraiser will take place on November 8th.  Preparations have been under way for months.  Tickets sales are on-going and moving fast.  Below is the flier giving the details of the event.  Visit http://www.fromheretohaiti.org to purchase your tickets or call any of the board members listed on the flier.

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Below are a few pictures of last year’s event:

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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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StRaymondSchool a Apr13 (11)

StRaymondSchool a Apr13 (15)

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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.

Westby 1 - FHTH soccer team

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

Poush Pooooooouuuuuush

by Patricia Brintle

When volunteers express the desire to join the team on a project they always ask what to bring, how to dress, what we will eat, about vaccinations, mosquitoes… all questions about the necessities of life.  My informal answer is to plan as if they were going tent camping in a remote area.  At hearing this, some will decline to go but others will embrace the prospect with ardor.  I almost always forget to mention to be ready to push our vehicle if needed.  Vehicles in Haiti are too often used until their very last breath; and even when they die, parts are re-used in other moribund cars or transformed into interesting artworks that are sold for much more than the entire car was ever worth.

At our very first trip back in 2010, although I had not mentioned “pushing cars” as part of the planning, our team got a taste of it.  As soon as we got in the car to leave the Jeremie airport, the driver gave us an impish look with a shy chuckle and asked everyone to get out while he scanned the area for able bodies to help push the car.  Joe, Bob and Eddy immediately stepped into gear and join the other volunteers to the front of the car; as if rehearsed they all let out a unified groan and began pushing.  Ellen and I were asked to remain in the car.

Jeremie Aug11 (4)

One, two, three… pooooooouuuuushhhhh… and after a couple of violent hiccups, the car took off.  The guys rushed over and quickly got in the vehicle, a few others jumped in the open back while it was still moving for fear that it would stall.  We continued on our way to fulfill our plans for the day under the applauds and laughs of a few spectators

??????????Pushing the car was a common occurrence for me as a child, especially when crossing a river and the thought of being stuck in mid stream never left me to this day.  We never needed to push any of our cars again but each time we drive through a river, my butt involuntarily rises just a wee bit from the seat as if to lighten the car and keep it from stalling in the water.

blog push Lac Miragoane Oct2012 (2)

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

Another school in Lory

by Patricia Brintle

Lory is a small mountain top village of about 10,000 inhabitants in the Grande Anse department in the south of Haiti.  I visited the parish of St. Antoine l’Ermite in 2011 to check on a FHTH project for College St. Augustin, the parish school.  The project entailed constructing a 5-stall toilet for the school which had none.  My task completed, I expressed my sadness at the fact that College St. Augustin had so little.  School supplies were scarce, the school building was unfinished and portions were dangerously open, the stairs          Lory March11 (28)       Lory March11 (25)

were uneven, had no ramp and invited accidents.  The children had to be extremely careful not to take a fall.  They had no toilet but this was being remedied by FHTH.  The cistern in the yard was filled with rain water but it had no cover, a danger to the children, and inside mosquito larvae swam undisturbed.  Pere Charlince Vendredy, the pastor, smiled at my remarks.  He said that he was grateful to have the little that was because just a stone’s throw away, at another school, the children had even less. 

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It was hard to believe, but he took me on a short walk.  Just about 500 feet up the road was a school in session.  I approached the first classroom, an outdoor construction with four posts, no walls and tin roofing.  The teacher had no desk and the attentive children sat with eyes fixed on the teacher as not to miss a word.  Their bench brought tears to my eyes:  a few rocks on which rested a wood plank.

Lory National School (42)

The teacher approached and welcomed me to the class.  I voiced my sadness at the seating.  He said that seating was secondary to learning and that the students were happy just to be in class even without a proper classroom or bench.  He took me to an edifice where other classes were being held.  They had separate classrooms, desks and benches, but the roof was leaking and the floor was just large rocks strewn about.

          Lory March11 (44)           Lory National School (43)

The image of these children remains with me each day.  I cannot help thinking of how much we sometimes take for granted.  We open the faucet and expect potable water to flow; we turn on the switch and expect the light to come on; we attend school and expect to sit on proper benches and walk on an even flooring.  However, to acknowledge how easy we have it can only help us strive to help those who are less fortunate.

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

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

XPERIENCE DAYS

By Patricia Brintle

Putting together a formal event for a benefit is no small task.  First the venue has to be selected, the minimum number of guests decided upon and a deposit check written; then comes the task of advertising, selling tickets, printing a journal, and planning a program that will keep guests entertained for five hours all the while focusing on raising funds.

terrace on the park

Our Third Annual Dinner Dance Fundraiser will take place on November 8, 2013 at Terrace on the Park in Queens, NY.  We are already publishing the event so guests will mark their calendars.  One of the highlights of the evening is the drawing of raffle and auction winners with one prize more exciting than the other.  This year my searches led me to a company called Xperience Days where I spoke with Ms. Evie Stacey who explained that Xperience Days is “committed to supporting numerous charitable civilities in its desire to be an engaged and responsible corporate citizen.”

What a unique company.  Browsing through their website was an experience in itself.  One “experience” was more amazing than the other, so much so that it was difficult to navigate way from the site.

Their “Airborne” experiences let you participate in an air combat dog fight, ride in a glider, helicopter or a hot air balloon; you can hang glide, sky dive, or just take a scenic plane ride.

Their “Drive” experiences let you ride a stock car at the Pocono International Raceway, give you the thrill of a dune buggy, ATV, dirt bike, or enjoy a dragster fantasy ride.

Their “Tour & Activities” section is full of great excursions and programs: fishing, golf, sailing and whitewater rafting; art, dance, pottery, glass blowing classes; beer making, wine and cheese tasting, not to mention inspiring city tours.

By the time I looked at the “Food & Wine” section I realized that I had spent a whole day browsing and that being methodical in my search would be more efficient.  I selected “New York Gifts” from their wide choice of cities.  The NY Experiences are too numerous to list; tours included Ground Zero, Movie locations, Broadway, Ghost hunting and Chinatown; trapeze class, art class, wine tasting tours, spas, sailing, photography, martial arts, cooking, perfume making… and the list goes on.

Whale picture

We selected the New York Harbor Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise.  The winner of this amazing prize will head out with a guest aboard the American Princess for a four-hour Whale Watching adventure at Riis Landing in Rockaway, Queens.  With the views of the New York Harbor and Manhattan skyline in the background, cameras will snap pictures of Bottlenose Dolphins and Whales swimming and leaping out of the water.  You can be sure I will bet on this prize.  From Here to Haiti would like to thank Ms. Evie Stacey and Experience Days for their generous donation.

Be sure to visit their site at http://www.xperiencedays.com/  to see the exciting choices.

The From Here to Haiti Dinner Dance Fundraiser is on November 8.  Mark your calendars, make your reservations and get your tickets from our site.  Tickets will go fast.

FHTH - DINNER DANCE FLIER 2013 - with stub

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