Mitch Albom: Haitian student torn between college in Michigan and his earthquake-ravaged family (Detroit Free Press)

News & Updates from Have Faith Haiti

News from Haiti after Saturday’s Earthquake // UPDATES

News from Haiti after Saturday’s Earthquake // UPDATES

UPDATE, October 3:

Siem Lafleur and his mother, Clodine, pose in front of where Clodine is now living in Edward, Haiti, after the earthquake hit on Aug. 14, 2021.

Mitch Albom wrote about Siem leading relief efforts, and the emotion toil of being torn between college in Michigan and his earthquake-ravaged family. You can read this moving story in the Detroit Free Press right now by clicking here.

UPDATE, September 4th:

The supplies we are bringing to families in need of relief in Haiti focus on the elements: tents, flashlights, tarps – literally ways to protect from the rain, sun and darkness.

On this next trip to Jeremie, we were able to take some time to visit with extended family members, some of whom have not been able to keep in touch with kids for years. Here, Esther’s uncle gets emotional watching a video message from her.

UPDATE, September 8th:

Mitch Albom writes about repeated trips to Aux Cayes and Jeremie in the latest Bulletin.

Read and subscribe here.

UPDATE, September 3rd:

Siem is returning to Aux Cayes, while a group of teens — Samanza, Djouna, Appoloste, and Nahoum — accompanied Mitch Albom to relief efforts in Jeremie to distribute food, shelter, solar lights, tarps, tents and more to extended families in the area. Repeated flights will be made to Jeremie and Aux Cayes throughout the weekend.

UPDATE, August 27th:

Siem successfully made it to Aux Cayes despite the treacherous roads, distributing relief packages that include food, tents, lighting, and other essential general supplies. Mitch Albom will be returning next week with more. Your generosity has made this possible.

We have confirmed that three of our children’s families have had lost their homes – and what little they had. But they are just three of the 50,000 whose lives have been further upended. The latest reports put the death toll at 2,200, with 12,200 people injured

And by some small miracle, the effort to distribute aid has received some actual security support. Haiti’s National Police has deployed extra units to protect aid being shipped into the country, and even a notorious gang leader pledged a temporary truce with other warring factions so that aid trucks can make the journey from Port-au-Prince to the southwestern area hardest hit by the earthquake and storms. Driving conditions are already difficult, and at one point nearly impassable due to mud and rock slides. 

More updates to come, please check back soon.  

UPDATE, August 19th:

Siem is heading to Aux Cayes this weekend, and will be leading efforts to provide supplies, food, shelter (tents) and more to the families of our kids affected by the earthquake and storm. At least five have been left entirely homeless, and we are still waiting to hear the status of many more. Any remaining supplies will be distributed to neighbors.

UPDATE, August 18th:

We welcome donations to support Have Faith Haiti’s education and care of our children, which will continue whatever the natural or political disaster that we face. We expect to take in more children affected by this last earthquake and storm, and will be traveling to the area the first weekend in September to address needs of any family members of our students in Aux Cayes.

If you are looking for addition organizations who help provide immediate aid, we can share the following trusted partners:

UPDATE, August 17th:

Mitch Albom published a new Bulletin post with updates and reactions from our kids. Subscribe and read “How much could you take?” here.

UPDATE, Monday, August 16th:

We asked Siem, who came to Michigan to prepare for his return to Madonna University, to share what he’s feeling about the latest earthquake in Haiti.

FIRST POST, AUGUST 15

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Saturday, August 14th, about 80 miles away from Port-au-Prince. Kids at Have Faith Haiti Mission felt the shaking, but the campus’ structures are in tact. The children are a bit rattled, especially those who remember the last one. We are worried about those in coastal areas including Jeremie and Aux Cayes. Some of our children come from Jeremie, admitted after the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew, from which many still have not recovered. Many of our newest are from Cayes.

Within two weeks, we will be heading down to Les Cayes area to check in on the families of the nine children we took in last month who are from there. We are prepared to help any children who have suffered in this latest tragedy, including taking them in if we need to.

In Loving Memory of Mr. Phedre

In Loving Memory of Mr. Phedre

It is with great sadness that we share the sudden passing of a beloved teacher at the Have Faith Haiti Mission, “Mr. Phedre.” Born Vladamir Delinois in Haiti, he lived in Brooklyn and Florida as a child. As an adult, he served in the U.S. Army, and returned to Haiti, where he joined the Mission teaching English. He worked with our high school students on their TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) preparations, which is required for students to do well on if they are to gain admission to a college or university in the States.

Read more about him in Mitch Albom’s post from “Life at the Orphanage.”

The kids got to hold their own memorial for him earlier this week. We’re sharing some of Nahoum’s loving tribute here — it’s a must-watch.

Michigan Colleges Alliance Presents Mitch Albom & Friends 3.0 // Update

Michigan Colleges Alliance Presents Mitch Albom & Friends 3.0 // Update

Please note the new details for this year’s fundraiser, which is moving from the Great Lakes Center for the Performing Arts to Madonna University in Livonia, MI, where some of our children currently attend or will be starting in the fall! Join us in-person if you can, or online if you can’t, but most importantly, please consider lending your support!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

In person:  Madonna University Welcome Center (36700 Schoolcraft Road, Livonia, MI 48150)

Or join virtually via livestream!

Join us via livestream or in-person for the 3rd annual Mitch Albom and Friends – an incredible night of stories, laughter, music, and fun, live from Madonna University’s spectacular new Welcome Center.  Mitch has rounded up a few of his entertaining pals to join in the festivities virtually – including Golden Globe-winning actress Kate Hudson, Emmy-winning actor Bradley Whitford, and NFL Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders.  On-stage and in-person, we’ll hear from local sports anchor Bernie Smilovitz and NFL Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow, Sr., as well as Madonna University students from the Have Faith Haiti Mission.  It’s all for a great cause as we raise money for the Have Faith Haiti Mission college scholarship fund in partnership with Michigan Colleges Alliance.

We hope you will join us on August 19.  To learn more and to purchase tickets or register for the livestream, visit: https://michigancolleges.org/mitch.

A Young Writers’ Retreat

A Young Writers’ Retreat

Esther, Shamaika, Angeline, Jimmyna, and Stephania have been spending a lot of their free time recently writing short stories and even designing pictures for each page. They asked one of their teachers, Danielle, to help them edit, and soon they formed their own little writers’ “retreat.” Over two days, our budding novelists talked about parts of speech – like nouns, verbs, and adjectives – and worked on story maps. Story maps take a graphic approach to building out the elements of a story or book, “mapping” out the beginning, middle, and end of a story. 

The young writers spun tales about friends at the beach and their own activities.

Learning the Art of Handicraft

Learning the Art of Handicraft

Two new wonderful volunteer additions at our school are teaching the joy — and the skills — of the craft maker.

Amy and Bob Thibodeau joined the Have Faith Haiti Mission team from Canada to lead courses in making and repairing things. Called WWW: Wood, Wiring and Water, the Thibodeaus are leading four different bi-weekly classes of varying age and skill to help students learn woodworking, electrical wiring and plumbing.

Currently focusing on woodworking, students have already completed two projects — shower hook shelving and a picnic table. The goal is to build five small tables for younger children, and possibly donate one of them to a neighboring orphanage or location in need of them.

Additional activities also include sewing, and some of our teen girls have made small drawstring knapsacks for themselves and others at the Mission.

Their developing skills – and growing love of the craft – are already so impressive, we may have some master craftspeople and artisans in the making!

Delayed Until the Fall, This Year’s Spelling Bee is As Ambitious As Ever!

Delayed Until the Fall, This Year’s Spelling Bee is As Ambitious As Ever!

This year, our annual Spelling Bee was held in September. Although it’s usually a late spring event, school director Cara Nesser wasn’t able to visit because of COVID-19 restrictions. Held just before the start of our new fall term, the spelling bee thus came with an extra challenge: the students had to remember vocabulary words from last year, and study them again. 

For the first time, the spelling bee also coincided with a visit from Mitch and Janine Albom, both of whom agreed that even they weren’t sure how to spell some of the words!

Despite her rigorous attempts, Ms. Cara could not whittle down any class to just one winner even with words like crustacean, Platyhelminthes, Cnidarian, catalyst, ecclesiastical and the all time most dreaded word: Deoxyribonucleic acid  (the scientific name of DNA, in case you folks at home didn’t know!)  Even Mitch was sweating out this one!

Our oldest group, Secondary 3, not only had to spell the words, but define their words as well. If there was any question as to the validity of the answers, Mitch served as the “panel of judges” to determine if the answer qualified. He looked up dictionary definitions online, in real time, and fortunately, with one exception, all the answers were right.  All of the words we use in our Spelling Bees are taken from actual classwork—no random words are added to the Bee.

It was an exciting Spelling Bee, followed by our annual “school opening” ice cream party, and this year, a special concert presented by our two in- house rock bands! 

Now we are busy in school, learning MORE words for next year…

Check out the winners gallery!

> Read an important update from school director Cara Nesser on the impact of COVID-19 on the Mission’s school, and the resilience of our teachers and students!

Bonus video – do you know the helping verbs?

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