HELO Orphanage in Haiti

HELOs Blog

Updates from March team


HELO mourns the loss of our Papi Jeff, he loved the children, and they loved him more.  Jeff was a tireless supporter, caring and compassionate advocate, and loving friend.  A bright light has been extinguished, he will be so greatly missed.  We love you, Papi Jeff!

jeff_medgine_lala group_May_2010 Jeff_November_08

Joyful Reunion

"Do not merely listen to the word....Do what it says." James 1:22

   "...look after orphans and widows in their distress..."  James 1:27

I feel as though the verses above perfectly describe the founders of H.E.L.O, Elisabeth Kennedy and Pastor Jean Beaucejour.  I am in awe of  their compassion and dedication to each of  the 47 amazing kids. I had the blessing of visiting H.E.L.O Homes 1 & 2 during the May 2010 trip, so it was an even greater pleasure for me to be able to go back with the recent group in March. In addition to my joy at reuniting with all my little buddies, I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the progress they have made in such a short time. Already house 3 was complete and full of once-again happy children, and the community is still expanding!

It gives me a lot of hope to see such tangible successes in a country which has faced enormous adversity and hardships for so long. H.E.L.O has completely and utterly changed the lives of their children, giving them a clean stable home and, most importantly, the love and empathy those kids need to eventually come to terms with the sudden loss of their families and loved ones.  I have no doubt In my mind that each of the children will go on to do great things in both Haiti and the world now that they are armed with an education, compassion, & a deep love for Jesus. school4

 In a country with such desperate needs, the three H.E.L.O Homes are a beacon of hope and community. Every sunday they hold a church service full of dancing and singing (Haitian style Smile)  and they also provide a schoolhouse for the local children. Despite all of the good, it is still heartbreaking to be unable to help those thousands of orphaned children who are  still on waiting lists or completely alone, each of them has  the potential to heal and grow, they simply need a loving supportive environment.

Most of all I was impressed by the children's strength, they have experienced miseries I can't imagine, yet they are unbelievably full of spirit and joy. They are truly amazing.

-- Jorden Eck

A Life Touched Forever

I knew that this trip would change me, break me and put me back Kim__Sophia together, but never could I have imagined the impact. It is heartbreaking to see the damage that has been done to Haiti emotionally and physically. However, I am confident that it is all getting better step by step. The love for Haiti that comes from me as well as the HELO team will improve the lives of children and Haiti in general. Even with all the damage, Haiti is still somehow a beautiful place and the people are so loving and grateful.  They have all made me a stronger person because if they can live through the pain
and sorrow and still be happy and loving, than there is never a reason for me to think I can't.

Every child at HELO has touched my heart and it is almost impossible to go through my day without a picture of them
in my head. I cannot wait to literally have them all in my arms again. This experience is the most amazing one I have ever known and it is just the beginning of my journey with Haiti. Mommy Elisabeth is the most amazing person inside and out, she has taught me so much about life and just basically about everything. Her love and kindness is shown without her even speaking a word.  Children run up to her and hug her even if they have never seen her before, and like they say  -- children have good instincts. I pray that I will be like her someday!

Thank you everyone on the HELO team, the Beaucejour family, the people at HELO, those living in Haiti, and at Chantal for making me the way I am today -- a better and stronger person.  You have all touched my life forever.
love always, Kim Mead

Change, A Life Made Whole

To the people of Haiti, especially the children and staff of HELO, Mami Elisabeth and the Beaucejour family,
kate-1
I will never be able to thank you enough for the gift that you have given me since my trip to your beautiful country. Before you all came into my life, I always felt a piece of me was missing, although until now, I never knew what it was. Your presence in my life has made me whole. I am in awe of your strength, your caring souls, and most of all, your ability to love. You have shown me what is really important in life, and that it is not at all measured by the amount of money or materials you have, but truly by the love in your hearts and your ability to share it with others. I see a change in myself that I never knew was possible, and for the first time in my life, I love the person I am. I love the part of me each every one of you have molded, and I will carry you all with me for the rest of my life, wherever I go. I will continue to bring awareness of the needs of the country, and promise to come back as many times as I possibly can. Everything I will do in the future, I will do for you, and in your honor. I will never be able to repay you for what you gave me during the past week, but I will be eternally and forever grateful.

I love you more than you'll ever know, Kate

 

Unsolicited Smile jean_giles-1

Worshiping Sunday under a canopy for two hours I continue to make eye contact with Jean- Giles, my sponsored child, smiling and waving to him.  Slowly I move over to sit by him, resisting the urge to engulf Jean with loving arms. Instead, I reach over to stroke his tiny hand, praying he would see the love in my eyes.   Each passing day I smile and make progress with small hugs and picking him up.  Still no smiles from Jean as the days go by.  One day, as I lifted him up, I am surprised by his instant grip around my neck and his fending off other children as they reached up to me.  Amazing progress!   My last day to spend with Jean arrives as the group van pulls up to the homes.   The children come out to greet us, and Jean looks for me. 

Jean is taking a school recess so we spend time together.  After he settles back in behind his desk I can’t resist one more look.  As I peek around the door our eyes meet; my heart jumps as a huge smile fills his face and his eye sparkle.  He shyly turns his head away but only to turn to me again with a smile; my throat tightens and tears run down my cheeks.   Blessings of joy fill the afternoon as Jean really reaches out to play with me and for the first time I hear his sweet laughter.   

jean_giles-2

 We are both changed and connected forever.

Susan Pallatto

 

HELO/Marist Team team_small

A team of 15 traveled to Haiti on March 11, 2011, most students from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.  I warned these bright and compassionate young adults that their hearts were to be broken, but assured them that God would piece them back together, forever changing them.  Indeed, I brought back 12 young adults dedicated to change their world, filled with conviction to bring awareness of the pain, the beauty, and tremendous need in Haiti.   Just as I pray HELO's children will grow to be leaders of their country, I pray that opening these hearts to the plight in Haiti, these future leaders of both countries will continue to reach out, continue to work hand-in-hand, and together find solutions, spread hope, and create change.  Words cannot express my gratitude to all on the HELO/Marist team for the love, laughter, and tears we shared with each other and with the children and staff at HELO.

In addition to opening hearts, the team helped instal solar panels at each home, painted the third home, and managed to get all 46 children to the beach after worshipping together on Sunday.  HELO is more beautiful because of the love shared throughout this week, and I believe America is more beautiful, too, because of these outstanding young people and the love and hope they have in their hearts.  Mwen renmen ou tout, Bondye beni ou anpil!  Mami Elisabeth

  beach2 painting beach1 solar_panels

Updates from 3 Missionaries!

A Daughter's Perspective

When we first arrived in Port-au Prince, I was overcome by sadness and shock by the state of Haiti. Seeing the damage of the January 12th earthquake on TV, and first hand, are two shockingly different experiences. The destruction and chaos in the city is heartbreaking, and a sight that could never be described or portrayed in pictures. However, all of those feelings were erased during my most memorable day on the trip at the HELO houses. We visited the houses briefly on our first day, where I was greeted as “Mami Sara” and learned my visit was long awaited by all of the children. On the day of the party, I was able to spend time with all 46 kids and watch them enjoy every moment of the celebration. Three boys: Kendy, Sodlyn, and Jean Giles spent the day by my side.   sodlyn The three became my friends when I simply took a picture of them playing on the ramp. Immediately they became addicted to the camera. Following me screaming “photo! Photo!” and demanding hugs, kisses, and to be carried, I couldn’t help but think the only thing these kids want to be happy, is love. To feel as though someone is there just for them, to make them feel safe for a few minutes. I took a moment to myself after my epiphany because the thought made me cry.  Actions and emotions my parents wouldn’t think twice about neglecting me of, these children most likely didn’t receive very much of. I spent my day playing, kissing, and hugging the children as they stuffed their faces with rice kendy2 and opened their new toys. At the end of the party, I don’t think anything could have made those kids stop smiling, a sight I couldn’t get enough of. jean_giles
 
Amongst all the destruction and grief in their country, it’s comforting to know Haitians are still able to carry on. The children at HELO opened my eyes to realize, if they can continue to play and laugh, I can do the same on a tough day. Their faces are still in my mind every day, making me smile and giggle every so often, and I know they will stay in heart for the rest of my life. I have never been so happy and fulfilled as I was that day, knowing the children in HELO’s neighborhood were fed a very healthy portion of food, and every child received a new toy.
The trip was one filled with many emotions, between shock, sadness, and extreme happiness. I plan on going back as often as I can with my mother, continuing to make a difference just as she has been doing for years. Not only did my bond with my team and the children become very strong, but the bond between my mother and I reached another level that could not be put into words. Seeing her in action in Haiti rather than hearing the stories afterwards was something I wouldn’t trade for the world. I cannot be prouder to share her with 46 children who deserve her great heart and caring love, and to know their lives are forever changed because of the opportunity she’s given them.

-- Sara Kennedy

Sponsor had some quality time with her sponsored child at HELO

Today we had the privilege to serve many children a bountiful meal of rice and beans, beet salad, chicken, and breadfruit at the Christmas party at the HELO orphanage. The children sang and played with abounding joy. I can think of nothing I enjoyed more than witnessing the spirit in these beautiful children; children who have not always been afforded the security and nourishment they have in their HELO homes now.
I have been sponsoring a child named Christella at HELO for almost three years now. I was able to spend some time with her and see how she has grown physically and emotionally. When I first met Christella she was an extremely shy little girl who lacked the ability to express herself. While she is still quite reserved, she seems to be much more self assured and clearly full of the love her new family has given her.
Sponsoring a child has been a wonderful experience. I feel connected to her in every way even though she is hundreds of miles away. Knowing that my care for her makes her life more abundant in every way is gratifying. I am blessed to be part of her life and HELO.

--Michelle Engel

A day of work and great celebration at HELO

Today the team visited HELO, painted the interior of the newly completed third home, played lots of games with the children and were entertained with singing and dancing of our very talented children at HELO's second Christmas party (postponed from December due to political unrest). Last December we opened our newly completed school to the community, an introduction and celebration of God's blessings on HELO. This year, that school building was filled with HELO's children, and over 200 people were fed outside in the newly completed addition, which serves as additional classrooms and a church. It was an amazing joy to see all 46 of HELO's children seated at one table, and I was overwhelmed by the realization of the tremendous growth that has transpired throughout the past year.

Shortly after the earthquake, HELO opened a second home. Our little school house became a home to 12 beautiful children, most earthquake survivors. Due to the number of children affected by the earthquake, 12 children remained on a waiting list. On July 1 a third home was opened, and a new family moved into the school. Today the school building was once again filled in celebration of Christ's birth, and in celebration of God's abundant blessings. The land that last year housed only one small schoolhouse now boasts two beautiful homes, a larger school, and a very beautiful well! God is so good!! It was with joy and thanksgiving that approximately 250 meals were served and Christmas gifts distributed, sharing our love of Jesus Christ with the children of HELO and the wonderful people in this little corner of Haiti. We sincerely thank each person who has provided support throughout the year and for this team. For each prayer offered, for each toy or dollar donated, we thank you.

We pray for God's continued blessings for HELO. The need is great, children continue to join our family, and the school is now open for children in the community. Please consider sponsoring a child (full sponsorship or school sponsorship opportunities are outlined on our website). We look forward to another year of growth and blessings, with your support and God's goodness. Bondye beni ou. God bless you, and thank you!

--Elisabeth Kennedy

My first visit to Haiti has been life changing

This is my first trip to Haiti. Up until November 14th, I had no interest in volunteering, let alone traveling to an impoverished country to devote my time, money and energy. When I get the paper, I think more about the Best Buy flyer than the articles. My mind changed on that date when I read an article about HELO, it's children and Elizabeth Kennedy. I contact Elizabeth on that date and on Saturday I was sitting with Pastor Lubin, Elizabeth and many other generous and devoted volunteers. I am guarded with my checkbook but I gave my financial and emotional commitment within the first few topics of conversation.

One of the reasons that I signed up, was because my life had gotten so monotonous with a routine that included; work, gym, food and TV. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I just felt disconnected from what was happening in the world and it seemed like years were passing me by. My family was surprised that I signed up for this but were proud that I was going. They didn't say it but they were a little worried that it might not be safe. I have never felt unsafe.

I am now on my third full day of experiencing Haiti. After the first day I could honestly tell myself that this is the one of the best, if not THE best thing I have ever experienced in my life. The most positive aspect of this trip has been the people, children and adults alike.

Sunday morning, when I got off the buss to attend Pastor John's church, I saw several children. One of the boys went to each team member and opened his arms to be hugged. This boy was approximately 4 years old, with no parent within eye sight. His face was swollen and protruding on one side, with what is believed to be an abscessed tooth. Elisabeth quickly pledged to pay for treatment for the child. The child, clearly in pain, seemed happy just to receive a hug. I rarely cry but I was close to it at that moment, which was in itself a little bit of emotional exploration.

I have had more happy and amazing experiences that I could even describe in this short note. The members of Pastor John's church were welcoming, appreciative and loving. I never knew how far a simple smile and handshake could go. The sense of community here is amazing; from the bond that I have developed with the members of this trip to the closeness that I have formed with the children and adults that I meet everyday. I do not attend church, but if I lived in Haiti, I would. There is music, dancing and joy. I can honestly say it's fun and I don't understand a word anyone is saying.

This is not just play. It is hard work. We have conducted 2 dinners and present distributions. Each time there is present wrapping, entertainment and crowd control to do. Not everyone can walk away having their expectations filled. However, your motivation is in front of you, and you don't think about fatigue when you see kids smiling. I'm in my 20's. I'm not real comfortable holding small children. I think of them as fragile and that freaks me out a bit. Children are perceptive and they can smell fear. But on my first day here I found a 10 month old that I simply could not put down. She is amazing. She didn't cry, I think she might have even liked me.

I wasn't prepared to be a focus of attention for many of the children down here. The last two days I have made sure that I had a soccer ball to play with the kids. Starting a pick up game of soccer makes you a hero down here. Everyone wants to be my friend. When sitting down to watch the children sing and perform at the parties, the littlest children crawl onto my lap rather than sit in their own chair. The stereotype of an orphan is; timid, broken and sad. That stereotype could not be any farther from the truth. These children are so uplifting and bright that you can't help but feel happy to be around them. I came here with the desire to help them, but what happened instead was the formation of joyful memories that will last in all of our minds for the rest of our lives.

I can't wait for tomorrow and the day after that. My experience has been amazing. I'm no saint. I don't really consider myself a missionary. I didn't come here to change my life. I was definitely happy before I left. I didn't feel like I had to do this. I came here because I wanted to have this experience. I have met great people. I have worked with some of the most generous people I have ever met. Pastor Lubin is a selfless man who is in touch with multiple generations, cultures and classes. He devotes his life to others without seeking any recognition. He has an infectious charisma and confidence that draws people to him. Elisabeth wears her heart on her sleeve. I can't say that I respect anyone else in this world more than her. She loves children unconditionally and they make her as happy as one can be. I work in a profession with parents and children where I analyze their relationships. I have never met anyone like this before. I cannot fathom how much she and Pastor Lubin have accomplished in such a short amount of time and how happy they both make people at home and in Haiti. Within this week thousands of people's lives have been touched, including my own. I don't know how my life will be affected when I return home, but I will be in a good way. At the very least, I will stop wasting money on stupid purchases and ensure that I continue to contribute to these children. I will be back. At the end of each day I can't help but think about how and what else I can do to contribute to this cause. It's easy to talk about causes, but for me, there are faces for this one. Those faces will continue to inspire me wherever I might be.

--Zachary Thorne

Blog Entry

helo_82_098

Merry Christmas from all of us at HELO, may God bless you richly in the New Year!

11/24/10

Thankful for our many blessings, beautiful healthy children, WATER, food and LOVE....and you, our supporters!!

11/15/10

Please follow the link to enjoy Cloe's article, photo galary, and video from Fox 61 News:

 Learn more at http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-haiti-orphanage-20101114,0,273731.story

11/13/10

Hartford Courant photographer Cloe Poisson was a member of HELO's August team.  Cloe has written an article about the trip which will be featured in tomorrow's Hartford Courant.  Pick up a copy, or read it on-line at www.courant.com where there will also be a galary of Cloe's beautiful photographs.

It is with heartfelt gratitude, and on behalf of all of us at HELO, that I thank Cloe for the hours of dedication she put into writing this article and carefully selecting photographs.  I look forward to reading the article, in seeing HELO through her eyes, and am truly grateful she made the journey and even entrusted us with beautiful Molly as a bonus! 

God bless you, Cloe, for sharing your talent to further God's work at HELO.  We love you!

 

10/30/10

Water -- beautiful, clean, pure water!  Praise God!!

well1_Small

 

10/17/10

Jeff and I had the privilege to meet Dr. Paul Farmer at the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal Ceremony.  Dr. Farmer was honored at the event for his humanitarian work throughout the world, and took time after the ceremony to meet with groups from Marist and Vassar Colleges to talk about Haiti. 

Dr. Farmer is amazing, down to earth, and inspiring!  We are still more focused and encouraged to continue to do all we can to help the children of Haiti, and we pray to change Haiti, one child at a time. Paul_Farmer


Page 9 of 9