Not long after her daughter, Mitsie, was enrolled at The Joseph School, staff became used to seeing young mom Monique volunteering at TJS each and every day, sometimes for the entire day. Monique cheerfully took on any task given to her, and came back eager for the next in order to help the school run as smoothly as possible. In partnership with the TJS foundation, tuition is free for all students, with two meals provided each day. As part of their commitment to the students and the school, parents are required to volunteer a total of five hours every month. Maybe Monique misunderstood, we thought, perhaps she thought we said five hours per day? When we approached Monique about it, she told us there was no misunderstanding. Monique was there every day to help give back to the school and make sure her child stayed on the path to success.
Mitsie and Monique had been with TJS for a year and a half when a custodial position opened up. It was only natural we offered the job to hardworking Monique. In Monique’s words: “It is unbelievable that my child is getting an education for free. I have been volunteering for 1 ½ years because the Joseph School does so much. It’s a way I can repay the school. By offering me the job, I feel so blessed. How do Americans say it? It is like the icing on the cake. I am part of a great mission for Christ.”
That was in 2017, and Monique’s been with us ever since. Asked recently by Director of Operations, Jean Bildad Michel, “What makes The Joseph School so special to you?” Monique responded, “Most schools who help students in Haiti for free, they do not treat the children the same way the Joseph School treats their students. Even my oldest daughter who goes to a different school for pay is treated with less respect than the manner in which TJS treats my Mitsie and the other students. I am not saying that because my daughter attends. I am saying that because it is true.”
During the political unrest, with barricades and burning tires everywhere, the workers and the teachers went to check on the students of TJS. With the corona virus following close behind, the school’s commitment to community outreach was even more critical. A WhatsApp page was created for each class grade (which included all teachers and their respective parents) in order to continue the work of the students. Parents are able to access the teachers to get assistance in helping their own child. Monique declared, “What a great program that Madam Katie, Madam Rose, and Mister Edrice created! The students are still in school, even though they are safer at home.”
TJS also sent food for their students to make sure the children did not go hungry during the quarantine. Even though the school building is closed and people are apart, students, teachers, and parents still feel connected. Monique concluded, “I pray for the Joseph School every day and for all who help.” Monique is a true Haitian leader, a prized volunteer, praying for the school. Concerned about her own child, she is like many other global moms.