“Let the little children come to me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
We are celebrating our 14th year of ministering both physically and spiritually to our children at St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port au Prince, Haiti. We have seen the older children grow and prosper into fine young adults with careers in medicine, accounting and sewing.
The dream of Sister Joan, the center’s founder, has come to full blossom over the past 50 years. She is surely looking down from heaven at what St. Vincent’s has become, a home and school for 30 children, some with severe physical challenges, who live here and are cared for and educated to the best of their ability to learn. Also, there are 200 day students who attend classes to prepare themselves for their examinations and future careers in teaching, government and the arts.
Dr. Mary White in conjunction with the Diocese of Haiti and The Episcopal Church USA was able to purchase 4 acres of land with a single story building outside the city central. With the remaining funds, the building was converted completely to be handicap accessible, widening doors, building dorm rooms, a nice, airy kitchen, a chapel and classrooms.
Which returns us to our title. Our children, some of who never ran their toes through the cool, green grass or sat beneath their own fruit trees in the shade, playing on a real grass soccer field instead of concrete or simply laying down in the clover watching the clouds go by as we did when we were young.
Under the direction of Dr. Susan Nelson and her medical teams, in cooperation with local Haitian medical personnel, our children are healthy, happy and doing well. Those needing advanced care are receiving it either in the states or in Haiti.
Under the leadership of Mr. Bill Craddock, Ken Quigley, the Board of Directors and our school administrator, Aurelie Fievre, as well as Pere Frantz Cole, the finances of St. Vincent’s are in order, the teachers are being paid up to government standards and we know what it costs to educate one child at this the premier school for the challenged child in Haiti. Even with this amazingly small tuition Of $130 per year, it is beyond the means of the average Haitian family. Also, there is the increased cost of transportation to get the children to the school which must be borne by the parents.
You can help educate these children so they will become productive citizens in the new Haiti by sponsoring the costs for one or more children for a year. These children will reap the benefits of a quality education for years to come.
So join us in this ministry. Travel with us to St. Vincent’s. Be a part of this life changing experience. You do not have to have any medical training. Only a heart that is willing to allow these children to enter in to your very being.
Our Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port au Prince may never be rebuilt after the earthquake in 2010. In some respect, it does not need to be because we have another Cathedral in St. Vincent’s, a Center for learning, for caring for our children, and those who enter her doors. Is this not exactly what a Cathedral should be. We call it our Cathedral for children. So please give generously, the money you give will be a small investment in our children’s future.
Rev Drew Woodruff,
Deacon and Chairperson
West Tennessee Haiti Partnership