Saturday, February 8, 2014

International Student Leadership Program in WA partners with other local org

Read this wonderful update below directly from our NW regional staff about an exciting new partnership in the works!

We are developing a wonderful partnership between the International Student Leadership Program and a place here in Spokane, WA called the Hutton Settlement.

The Hutton Settlement is a children’s foster care home with some great similarities to NPH.  Their mission is to nurture, educate and prepare children who are in need of a safe and healthy home.

In October, the students from the International Leadership Program came over to Spokane (we are about 300 miles from Seattle) to attend our fundraiser and to do a service project at Hutton Settlement.  The service project was to build a sandbox. 

The children from Hutton were also invited to join in.  It was a beautiful, crisp fall afternoon, and after meeting together and learning about each other, our students and some of the Hutton children began the project, which involved some digging, leveling and placing the concrete brick border.  

What I found really great about the experience is that there really seemed to be a bond between the Hutton children and our students.  They really didn’t share any language abilities, but they worked side by side in this joint effort to create something of lasting  benefit for the children.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

You have been with us every step of the way...

Gena Heraty, Director of the Special Needs Programs at NPFS Haiti, gives us an update on some of the children and what she describes as "a big family" at Kay Christine.

Thomas just appeared upstairs, and we are having a discussion about his love life!! He is forever changing "girlfriends"!! But he always finds another guy for the girl he is dumping!! So just now I asked him if it’s true he has left "Zouzou". She is for another he says!! All of us agree that if Thomas was able to walk we would never be able to keep him home as he has a real eye for the ladies!!! Today he went horse riding and he loves that! He is such a wonderful boy - always full of love and life and always down for a laugh. He has many many friends and kids of all ages, boys and girls, are always coming to chat with him or to wheel him around. His speech is clearer now and so it's easier to understand him. He would make a good journalist because he is always telling me when someone misbehaves. Last week one of his sitters got married, and he was so so excited to go to the wedding. How proud he was and how wonderful it was to see he and his Mom and three sisters there. They love him so much and his mother was proudly showing him off to all her friends and neighbors. I felt so many emotions during the wedding. So happy for this family, so happy for Thomas. So happy to see his joy. And I missed so much his twin brother- "my little prince"! Almost thirteen years have gone since he died, and yet he is never far from my heart. Somehow I like to think that he too was celebrating with his family that evening.

Robenslee has a new "karate type" routine! He is so funny! Doing his routine every day. Don't ask me where it came from - he just started doing it, and we all remarked that it was like a martial arts routine! One day I was sitting outside in front of the house and I was on the telephone. He was walking around and the next thing he just backed up and sat on my knee for a few minutes! Then he went off again! So cute! I have been deliberately giving him more attention these past months because it would be easy to go a day and just see him as he is so independent! And I remember how affectionate he was as a child. I have noticed that sometimes he will come close just for the contact, he will stay a while while I rub his back or head and then off he goes again! Other times he is too busy!!

Alsone has had a good year! He is so handsome! And so special! There he is in his chair - unable to do a thing by himself and yet always quick with a smile. Never impatient. Never grumpy! So gentle in so many ways. You know some people will look at him and never see beyond his body! Never notice his beautiful bright eyes, shining with love. Never notice his gentle presence, his kind smile, his twinkling smile - in the world of today so many people will always be blind to so many things. 

Cepha is watching me from her bed! She is always watching silently, and when you let her know you notice you will get a big smile or a laugh! During Mass she sometimes gets jealous if she cannot sit next to me. The tears will come and we move her over to me and then she is fine! Other times when I am with the smaller ones she will be watching! So I make sure to give her extra attention! She is a happy girl and loves a bit of fun! Still loves the chocolate too! Sometimes her hips give her a lot of pain but more often she is fine. She loves her school and the special ed classes are going really well.

Yoldi is now one year without seizures! Wonderful, right?! What happened? Well he told all of us he asked God to cure him and he did! Medically speaking we have no reason to explain the seizures stopping because the medicines are the same and even with the medicines he was having seizures regularly! He no longer wears the helmet! He wanted to stop taking the meds but we said no for now. Maybe if he goes longer without them we can try! After him begging us for months to let him return to school (to the program we have for older kids that includes life skills, and trade school) we relented! So he is a happy student and doing great!

Thanks to all of you for your wonderful support. I know you have been with us every step of the way. I will never meet most of you, but know that I consider you all to be part of our family here in Kay Christine. You will be happy to know that we continue to work hard to bring services to children with disabilities living with their parents. Our Special Ed school is going very well, as are our therapy programs. Not only that but we are trying to help other people in the rural areas of Haiti so we can reach out to the children that no one ever helps. Our dream is to to be a part of providing services throughout Haiti – one parish at a time!! With the help of God and good people like you, we will get there!