Above all, GoodBookey partner Hearts with Haiti believes in relationships. Their relationships with the St. Joseph Family (SJF) provide invaluable support to Haiti’s most vulnerable children. It fills urgent needs for the basics—food, shelter, clothing, care, education—and offering hope for the future. Their relationship also includes Wings of Hope and Lekol Sen Trinite.
Hearts with Haiti’s Roots
Hearts with Haiti’s relationship with the St. Joseph Family began in 1996 when a group of visitors from the U.S. were so moved by the extraordinary ministry in Haiti that they formed a nonprofit organization to help provide a means for financial support. The ministry they witnessed provided street children and child slaves–or “restaveks,” as they are known in Haiti–with far more than an orphanage; they provided the individual love, care, and attention of a family. The St. Joseph Family.
The St. Joseph Family eventually grew to include Wings of Hope, a home for children with mental and physical disabilities, and Hearts with Haiti’s relationship also grew to include these new children. Many Haitians consider children with disabilities to be possessed by evil spirits, and the children are subsequently abandoned and left to fend for themselves. In 1994, Wings of Hope began taking in these children and giving them a safe, happy, loving, caring, and hopeful family environment. The motto at Wings of Hope is possibilities, not disabilities.
At Wings of Hope, each child receives a combination of occupational therapy, physical therapy, recreational therapy, and classroom time. Today, Wings of Hope provides a home and second chance for more than 30 residents. Otherwise, these residents would be shunned by Haitian society.
Lekòl Sen Trinite
Right next door to Wings of Hope is Lekòl Sen Trinite, a day school for impoverished children. It is Hearts with Haiti’s third partnership. In Haiti, school is a privilege, not a right. As a result, many children in Haiti aren’t able to attend school. Lekòl Sen Trinite provides free education and a hot meal for over 160 of the poorest children from the community. This meal is sometimes the only meal the children will receive. Due to its proximity to Wings of Hope, the kids at Lekòl Sen Trinite are changing their perceptions about people with disabilities. They regularly have the opportunity to interact with the residents at Wings of Hope. This allows them to see that they are good, kind people with loving hearts.
From Devastation to Recreation
In 2010, St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in Port-au-Prince was destroyed in the infamous earthquake that devastated Haiti. The main home came crashing down in a matter of seconds. Additionally, it destroyed a guest house that brings in much-needed income for the home. Today a beautiful new home and guest house have been rebuilt in the footprint of the original facility. This is because of the support of donations around the world coordinated by Hearts of Haiti.
The Wings of Hope home was also destroyed in the earthquake, but the rebuilt facility is now accessible for children with wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers. “It enables them to be the people they were created to be,” said Jeanette Fuccella, executive director for Hearts with Haiti. “It allows them to live with dignity and as independently as possible.”
With these three incredible partnerships, Hearts with Haiti has an enormous goal of trying to reach each person as an individual. These partnerships are essential to the people of Haiti. It also hopes to help them realize the unique skills and gifts they have, giving them dignity and helping them reach their full potential. “It’s a labor of love, but it’s so worth it when you see and feel the results,” said Fuccella.
The entire St. Joseph Family organization in Haiti is run by men who grew up at St. Joseph’s Home for Boys, thanks to the quality education given to the boys at St. Joseph’s. They were once restaveks and street children.
Connecting with GoodBookey
Fuccella met GoodBookey Founder Anita Pease through other non-profit avenues and was immediately interested in a partnership. “The concept behind GoodBookey—not directly asking people for money—is a creative way to take advantage of people’s inherent good nature and desire to give back in a fun and playful way,” Fuccella stated.
GoodBookey is proud to partner with Hearts with Haiti. Additionally, we love to support their efforts to improve the lives of impoverished people in Haiti. To learn more about Hearts with Haiti, please visit www.heartswithhaiti.org.