As many of you know, I made a commitment to Haitian orphanages after the earthquake of January 2010 and soon after found myself in Haiti with my friend Mike Mahon, rebuilding an orphanage. I stayed for three weeks and I can tell you, the time flew by and when we left, 30 kids and caregivers had safe electricity, running water and flush toilets, brightly painted walls, mosquito-free screened in sleeping areas, and wonder of all wonders, internet access. Now some of the kids have Facebook pages and we regularly connect through the internet. We decided to call our organization Haiti Orphan Rescue Program because, indeed, there are between 500,000 and 1,000,000 orphans and displaced children in Haiti and most of them live in conditions from which they need rescue.

The amount of paperwork needed to start a non-profit in the U.S. is quite formidable, but we’ve achieved our tax exempt status and have been taking donations. We’ve raised enough money, finally, to return to Haiti at the end of March. During this short stay we’ll be looking at several orphanage projects, choosing which one will be our next. We’ll also be solidifying our relationship HORP Logowith the organization we helped found, Union Des Orphelinos Haitian en Action (Union of Haitian Orphanages in Action) so that they may continue to grow their roster of orphanages. Once we have chosen our next project we will return to Haiti, hopefully in May, to rebuild and rehabilitate another children’s shelter.

I am frequently asked why I chose Haiti and its children as my mission. Haiti had an earthquake, and lost many of its buildings. Many of the  remaining buildings need rehabilitation. So there’s is a lot of work in Haiti for people like me who know how to build. Organizational and management work, because Haiti has plenty of labor. That labor just needs supervision to tackle the millions of projects that Haiti needs to undertake in the near future. Projects that are essential to Haiti’s recovery and growth so that it may emerge as a stable, modern nation. I felt, and many share my conviction, that the children of Haiti are its future. And many of those children live in very bad places under terrible conditions. Kids were particularly vulnerable when the earthquake hit. So I decided to focus on orphaned and displaced children. Mike and I are basically builders who have taken what we know to another country to help kids. It’s really that simple. But we are not alone. We are well supported by our newly elected Board of Directors. Yes, we plan to grow HORP because if the last year has shown us anything, it’s shown us that our approach really has a positive impact on the Haitian children with whom we have had contact.

We are thrilled to be going back at the end of March. I encourage you to visit the HORP website website and blog to learn more about Haiti Orphan Rescue Program.

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