Beep Beep, We have a School Bus!

Are you ready for some BIG news? We are thrilled to announce that through the prayers and generosity of many people– particularly the Three Rivers Local School District in Cleves, Ohio– we purchased our very first school bus! Previously, we rented buses from Michael’s Orphanage when mission teams were in Haiti. Now, thanks to the Three Rivers Local School District, we have our very own bus, which their community generously stocked with school supplies.

Today, more than ever, our students and staff in Haiti need a more dependable transportation option. Some of our students wake up at 5 a.m. to walk several miles to school, whereas others must rely on limited and unpredictable tap-tap drivers. This 72-passenger bus will provide a consistent and safer transportation option for our students, staff, and mission group participants.

This project– shipping a school bus– has a lot of moving parts, literally and figuratively! We want to extend a special “Thank You” to Tim Wagner, Director of Transportation and Food Services for helping us fulfill our vision of obtaining this bus. We are also grateful for Ryan Bennett, who has started raising funds in Kansas. Meagan Rebler, who started a GoFundMe in Texas to raise both awareness and funds for this bus. She’s also traveled to TJS multiple times. We could not have gotten this far without them!  However, we still have a ways to go.

Presently, Lance Whitehurst, a local Ohio bus driver, is driving the bus to Riveria Beach, Florida! The bus should ship by this weekend. As you now know, we have the bus—and thanks to the school district, it’s packed full of supplies—so now we need help to ship it! Our goal is to raise $10,000 by June 22nd, but as our cause is so urgent, we hope that prayerfully, we can raise these funds by June 15th.

When you donate, you can immediately make a difference in the lives of the children of The Joseph School. Through your kindness and generosity, we can advance in our progress to ship this bus. Every little bit helps.

Make a tax-deducible donation. 

Ryan Bennett (left) on his first trip to Haiti in August 2017. At which he traveled many miles (by car and foot) to students homes who currently walk to school every day.
Meagan Rebler (right) during her last trip to Haiti. She started a GoFund me to raise a bus in late 2017 before we had plans ourself. She’ll be retuning to Haiti in three weeks with Houston Baptist University.

 


What What! A New Truck!

But we still need to get it to Haiti.

Thanks to some incredible individuals at Lee Company — Bill Lee, Richard Perko, Travis Edwards, and Gerry Vance — we have a much needed truck for our Haitian operations!

We are so thankful and excited for this generous gift because (if you follow our Haitian Director, Bildad Michel on Facebook, then you’re likely aware that) our current TJS vehicle is experiencing countless issues. Thankfully, we now have a newer vehicle and we’re raising funds to ship it to The Joseph School in Haiti.

Bildad will be in the U.S. next week, and he plans to drive the new truck to the Miami port at which it can be shipped to Haiti. From shipping to customs, and a few other costs in between, we need to raise $5,500! Can you help us reach this goal?  

Please visit https://thejosephschool.kindful.com/?campaign=297534 to help us ship the truck!


Sailing Through Service: Sailer Financial’s Volunteer Help

Ship ahoy! Last week, Sailer Financial visited our Nashville headquarters and proved to be such a huge help to us that we CAN’T wait to share more about all of their great work! Keep reading for a snapshot of their day:

Sailer Financial took a half day before joining us to help sort curriculum and take inventory to be sent to Haiti. Much of this curriculum comes from many of our amazing supporters, who have donated books, games, and other learning tools to our office.

However, as a non-profit organization, we are often time-strapped: as our small staff is assigned to so many different projects, it is, at times, difficult to allocate resources to sort through these donated materials. We are incredibly grateful that Sailer Financial took the time to aid us in this operations process, as their dedication and positive attitudes propelled them through the work– and the afternoon.

Additionally, they worked on signage for our upcoming donor event– stay tuned for more information in this arena, soon!

With deepest gratitude, we thank you, Sailer Financial. We love our volunteers!

The Visual Story of Sailer Financial’s Day:

L to R: Andy Michael, Pamela Talley, Jenny Wilson, April James, Jeremy Hutzel

 

Visit here to learn more about Sailer Financial!


Cumberland University Mission Trip: Leaders in Action

Leadership: it’s the primary discipline we seek to instill in our students, the foundation on which our school is based, and the guiding force behind our teachers’ instruction. Since we believe that servant leadership will unlock future economic and social advancement in Haiti, we’re always grateful for partnerships with other institutions who promote leadership, both in Haiti and from the U.S. Recently, Cumberland University traveled down to The Joseph School on a mission trip to our school and they led a Leadership Conference. We’re excited to shine a spotlight on their service today.

After the volunteers arrived in Haiti, they wasted no time in getting started. As a group, they single-handedly spearheaded an effort to encourage our students to develop as servants of God: a Leadership Conference. During their multi-day conference, they emphasized the importance of flexing many different— and often, seemingly opposing— leadership muscles. While a leader must necessarily approach situations with confidence, he or she also must possess humility. Evidently, they spoke on the nature of pride as one of the seven deadly sins, and they underscored that although it can certainly lead to “accomplishment,” it can also lead to “hate.”

Additionally, they encouraged our students to approach situations with logic and empathy, taught them how to be self-disciplined yet collaborative, and highlighted the importance of communication. The conference culminated with a call to action: to lead by example, as Jesus did, as a means of demonstrating servant leadership. Our students learned that with great power comes a great responsibility to serve their neighbor.

 

While the Leadership Conference was a hit, the Cumberland University volunteers didn’t stop there. They led a science workshop with the kids, planted trees, played soccer at the orphanage, painted a house, picked up trash, and served as the hands and feet of Jesus. We are so grateful for the generosity they extended, the energy they exuded, and the example they provided. It is our hope that these volunteers will continue to spread our mission to their families, friends, and neighbors. We are so glad that you are a part The Joseph School!

We’d also like to issue a special thank you to one of our TJS Board Members, Natalie Inman, for initiating and leading this trip with her CU students. Thank you Natalie!

 

 

 


Many Missions With The Joseph School

Thanks to the Immanuel Baptist Church and Marketing Research Education Foundation Mission Teams*, Mr. Phillip has a new and safer home!

Mr. Phillip is one of our Haitian friends that was in great need of a better living situation. He was living on the TJS land way before we gained ownership in June 2015. We did not want Mr. Phillip to move so instead, we offered him a paid position with TJS to watch over the property, and he does an excellent job.

However, his previous home (see pictures below) was not very safe. It was impacted by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and was beginning to crumble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankfully, our TJS Mission Teams showed up ready and willing to help! Together — Immanuel Baptist Church and MREF— funded and built a new house for Mr. Phillip. We’d also like to thank the Cumberland University team for painting his house.

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in traveling to Haiti to visit The Joseph School and participate in mission work? Email Jonaé Shaw, Development Coordinator at jonaes@thejosephschool.org.

 

*Immanuel Baptist Church Team included: Jenny Wilson, Kathryn Gnets, Melanie Dover, Steven Meriwether, Tambi Swiney and Susan Crownover; The MREF Team included: Donald Marek, Nancy Clark, Victoria Gelfeld, Susan Waltman, Katie Dennis, Sara Vergara-Muro, Federico Gallo, Jane Wilson, Tim Urmston, Jenny Karubian, Kritjana Osterhorn, Michael Korybski, Robert Gary, Carolyn Booker, Malecia Grant, Kim Johanson, Michael Sullivan, Agron Hoti, and Jim Bryson

 


Schlesinger Group Joins Marketing Research Colleagues to Support Haiti Education

Original Article published on Schlesinger Group

Early this year, Mike Sullivan, President of Schlesinger Group selected seven employees from [their] international team to accompany him on a 4-day service trip to Haiti to support The Joseph School.

[Their] team joined representatives from other marketing research companies on the trip organized by The Marketing Research Education Foundation(MREF).  The mission of the MREF is to unify, inspire and activate the marketing research community to focus its collective resources to educate children and youth worldwide. MREF is sponsoring the incoming class of first graders (pictured below) at The Joseph School to help provide meals, school supplies and uniforms to the school.

[Their] objective was to learn first-hand about education in Haiti and at The Joseph School and the struggles many students face with malnutrition and poverty. 50% of Haitian children do not get the opportunity to attend school, so showing international support is crucial to inspiring students to complete their education.

Visiting the school gave [them] a window into the daily routine of the students. [They] were inspired by the positivity of the children and the empowering messages the teachers convey to their students; “You need Haiti and Haiti needs you.” The school is not a ticket out of Haiti, but rather a foundation for the future of Haiti. It is creating a network of problem solvers equipped to tackle the biggest issues facing this country.

The MREF group got hands-on, assisting in laying a foundation for a new home for a school employee.  As a team, they achieved in three hours what would have the few local laborers three days to achieve.

Commenting on his experience, Michael Korybski, Recruiting Manager, said “This trip was life-changing for me. I strongly encourage industry colleagues to join the next visit or to get involved with the MREF in other ways. You won’t regret it.” 

Kim Johanson, Vice President, Client Solutions added “This trip allowed me to meet like-minded colleagues within the industry.  And, more importantly, I saw what it meant to give hope to people who face more adversity on a daily basis than most of us will in a lifetime.  I traveled home making a personal commitment: to return, often, to a project that is just as sustainable as the hope of its people.”

Schlesinger Group wishes to thank the MREF and, in particular, Jim Bryson, for this opportunity to come together with our industry colleagues for such a worthwhile cause.


Meeting Haiti With a Loving Heart

Guest reflections by: Tambi Swiney, Associate Pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church

“As our truck approached the gate of the school property, I realized that I was smiling from ear to ear. On this sunny January morning, our mission team from Immanuel Baptist Church in Nashville was about to visit the students and teachers at The Joseph School at their new permanent location. I had walked this property twice before when it was still undeveloped, so I was eager to finally see what prior mission teams had only been able to imagine.

When we exited the truck and saw the smiling children in their pristine uniforms, I was mindful of the years of dreaming and planning and praying that had led up to this moment. As a veteran of four previous mission teams from Immanuel that have served in partnership with The Joseph School over the past five years, I knew the stories well. The glistening white school building is a monument to perseverance.

I remember how my senses (and my heart) were bombarded on my first trip to Haiti in 2013. During the first few weeks after I returned home, I often felt tears welling up as I noted the stark contrasts between the harsh living conditions and scarcity of resources I had witnessed in Haiti and the material wealth and abundant resources that surrounded me in Nashville. On my second trip, I still took note of the poverty – in particular, the burdens faced by mothers who must walk to get water, who wash their clothes in a river, who cook meals for their families over an open fire – but I also learned to pay attention to the resources that Haitians possess in abundance – joy, creativity, perseverance, patience, compassion, and love.

In Gregory Boyle’s book Tattoos on the Heart, which chronicles his work with gangs in Los Angeles, he observes, “Meeting the world with a loving heart will determine what we find there.” The faculty of The Joseph School greets the students each day with loving hearts, and they are bringing out the best in these precious children, these future leaders of the beautiful nation of Haiti. I am grateful to bear witness to their work.”


Ipsos Weekend Volunteering in Haiti: Building and Learning

Guest bloggers:  Kate Dennis and Susan Waltman

On January 18, Global Healthcare sponsored four IPSOS employees* on a working visit to Cabaret, Haiti.  We volunteered alongside Industry Leaders as part of a Market Research Educational Foundation visit.  The 2010 earthquake devastated the country’s infrastructure, and there is still so much need.  In fact, close to 59% of Haitians live under the national poverty line of $2.41 a day.

The Joseph School’s (TJS) mission is to educate the future leaders of Haiti, and our Ipsos Volunteers quickly felt inspired by TJS’s message “Believe that You Can”. After just four years, TJS already provides a free education to 90 students every day across six separate classrooms.  The school also provides lunch – which may be the only meal many children receive each day.

We worked together, helping to lay the foundation for a house for the school custodian; we chopped vegetables alongside volunteer parents, helping prepare Friday’s meal for the Children; we visited the site of a healthcare clinic (currently looking for funding), and visited a homeless shelter, an orphanage, and nearby villages where the Joseph School children live.

The IPSOS team of volunteers rallied their local offices and raised close to $5,000 to contribute to the school; the school purchased a cast iron stove, a freezer and a refrigerator for the newly built kitchen facility.  Please reach out to our travelers (listed below) if you are interested in learning more about how to help The Joseph School or visit our YouCaring fundraising site at www.youcaring.com/SupportingTheJosephSchoolHaiti.  Monies raised will be given directly to the school.  We hope to make this an annual visit, and find more ways to collaborate and contribute to the wellbeing of the school children and their families.

*Jane Wilson, Montreal Office, Federico Gallo, NY Office, Sara Vergara-Muro, London Office, and Kate Dennis, Cincinnati Office and Susan Waltman

 


New Year, New Campus!

In August of 2016, The Haitian government gave us 20 kazoo té (acres) of land, with one stipulation —that we start building right away. And we did!

As you can imagine, there were hiccups along the way, but through the grace of God and generous gifts from friends and supporters like you, we have finished the first phase of The Joseph School campus.
We can not put into words how excited the students were to run around on what will one day be a playground and soccer field. Or how grateful the teachers were as they tidied up their already spotless classrooms. And how the staff and leaders in the community joined us to pray over the land and thank the Lord for what He has provided for The Joseph School.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for, contributed to and been apart of this journey. We are excited to continue raising the next generation of future Haitian leaders at our new permanent location. Many more photos on our Facebook. Follow us!


Blessed Transitions

As 2017 transitions into 2018,  The Joseph School is also transitioning into its permanent location. White House (TN) Baptist Church along with The Joseph School community teamed up to move furniture and supplies from the rental house — where classes have taken place since September 2015 — to our new classrooms, on our new campus and land.

Spring classes in the permanent location will start on January 8, 2018. This is a huge milestone for TJS and we are  very grateful for it. On behalf of our teachers, staff, and Board of The Joseph School, we want to thank every supporter that has prayed for The Joseph School this year. In many ways it has been a difficult year, but God has always carried us forward.

We wish you a smooth transition from 2017 to a richly blessed 2018. Happy New Year!