May 30, 2018 - Josh Vanfleteren serving in HaitiSubmitted by Strauss Financial Group, Inc on June 6th, 2018
Last week, I traveled to Haiti with Trezo, an organization dedicated to serving the people in the village of Cayes-Jacmel. Trezo, which was co-founded by my parents Bob and Kay, established and currently operates a K-6 grade school serving over 100 children.
The school is located in the Tavet village of Cayes-Jacmel, a mountainous region on the southern coast of the country. There is no running water or electricity, and regular meals are often hard to come by. In fact, many of the children get their only meal of the day during lunch at school. In spite of these hardships, many of the children travel several miles to attend school each day.
This particular trip consisted of myself, my parents, my younger brother, and eight other men and women from the greater-Nashville area. The goal of this trip was to accomplish a number of different tasks:
- Construct a new roof at the home of two of our current students, Betchiva and Betchivika
- Distribute care packages and gifts from sponsors
- Help the children tie-dye their own t-shirts
- Hand out awards for Best Original Short Stories to the 4th grade class
- Conduct graduation ceremonies for the graduating 6th graders
- Assess future needs for subsequent trips (additional roofing projects, resources for teaching staff, etc.)
Another function of every trip is to connect students to their sponsors in America. Roughly 2/3 of the current students have American sponsors, and these trips serve as an opportunity to provide the students with gifts and letters from their sponsors. Additionally, it gives us an opportunity to get pictures and letters from the students, in order to reinforce the sponsor-student relationship. Many of the children refer to their sponsors as their “godparents”.
Strauss Financial Group currently sponsors three children at the school, Djennie Josephine (John and Heidi), Anastaisia Desir (Arthur), and Ralph Bauzil (Josh).
The sponsorship provides many resources and opportunities for the students, including:
- School Uniforms
- Lunch (Typically their only meal of the day)
- School Supplies
- Care packages from sponsors
If you would like any additional information on Trezo and its students, please feel free to visit http://www.trezo.org/.
"Timoun fe trezo, malere" (Children are the treasures of the poor) - Haitian Proverb