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


On A Mission: Nashville First Baptist’s Trip

Throughout the summer, we have several groups that travel to Haiti to help the community and volunteer at The Joseph School. Donations play a huge role in what we have accomplished at TJS, as well as where we believe God will take us in the days, months, and years to come. However, it’s not just the monetary gifts that make a difference in Haiti, it’s the groups like Nashville First Baptist’s mission team (from Nashville, TN) that make a significant difference, too.

 

On day one of Nashville First Baptist’s trip, they split into two groups. Most of their team team went to The Joseph School’s land and helped with construction on our new permanent campus. They worked side-by-side with our Haitian friends to build and landscape areas of campus, while the other team held a training and mentoring session with teachers from TJS.

The next few days, the entire group volunteered at the new campus during the day, and in the afternoon, they visited a local orphanage for an evening of bible stories, games, music, movies, and dinner with the kids.

On day four, NFBC sent teams out to visit some of The Joseph School students and provide them with nutritional supplements to help them maintain a healthy weight while they are out of school. (We feed the students twice a day during the school year, but sometimes our students do not have adequate meals when school is out).

Day five was Sunday, or the Sabbath, so the group attended Solid Rock Church in a nearby town called Minotrie, and them they went to Wahoo Beach to rest and relax in the sun, before their last day of volunteering and returning back to Nashville.

Nashville First Baptist accomplished so many wonderful things while they were visiting The Joseph School. We are beyond thankful for their involvement with us and our mission. If you, your church group or organization would like to take a trip to volunteer at TJS, please email us at info@thejosephschool.org.


Meet Sam: An Amazing Servant Leader

We’re so thankful for our volunteers, and we’d like to introduce you to one of them. Meet Samantha Mulligan!

Samantha, better known as Sam, is an undergraduate student from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sam has been volunteering with The Joseph School for more than a year and has traveled to Haiti five times. She is very involved with teacher development by facilitating teacher trainings, working as a liaison between our U.S. location and Cabaret, and she helps with record keeping. As you can imagine, she gets to see the students every day and enjoys playing with them during active learning times, recess and school trips.

Due to her numerous visits to Haiti and involvement in the country, Sam also helps with groups who visit TJS. She enjoys helping them navigate the areas surrounding TJS, and sharing her experiences with them. Speaking of sharing, we asked Sam a few questions and we’d love to give her perspective: 

Sam, what’s your favorite thing about Haiti?

“My favorite thing about Haiti  is the children. Children are so innocent. They want you to love on them and play games with them. Anywhere I go I love to talk to the kids because I’m learning Haitian Creole and they take it easy on the vocabulary with me!”

 

We also asked Sam what she enjoys about TJS?

“My favorite thing about TJS is the people that make our vision work every day. I love the people that I work with! Our principal and teachers are so intelligent and have such big hearts for kids. Bildad, the head of our operations, is the definition of servant leadership. He is a wonderful leader and example to our kids and does a devotional everyday with them before classes start.”

Want to ask Sam more questions about Haiti? She’d love to hear from you. Follow her Instagram account  @Sammy3156, or message her on Facebook at Sam Mulligan. And please keep Sam in your prayers as she continues to travel and share her talents with our students and everyone she meets.

Sam, we thank you for everything you do here at The Joseph School!

 


Our Wall Stands Tall: Continuing The Joseph School Construction

Continuing The Joseph School Construction

We officially have a wall surrounding TJS land. This may seem small to some but to us and our amazing supporters, we’re very excited to have a strong, secure wall around what will one day be our K12 permanent school.

Two years ago, we opened the doors to our first class of kindergarteners at a rental property in Cabaret, Haiti. Because the Haitian government believes in The Joseph School mission, they gave us 20 acres of land to build a permanent school, and we are well on our way to making that building stand.

We can’t open the school fully as that will take time and more help. But we are planning to open a section of the school a few years at a time. Since we currently have primary age students, that is the first section we hope to open this FALL!

To do that, we need your help.  Many of you have been very generous already. Some of you have asked when will more construction begin. Well the time has come. We’ve accomplished the wall and gate, and now we are moving to the building itself. If you can give to help out with construction, your gift would be very timely.  If you cannot, we ask you to pray for The Joseph School, and the safety of the craftsmen building the school.  

God is doing amazing work in and through the school.  We hope you will continue to be a part of this effort.


School’s Out (Just for the Summer!)

School’s Out. Summer’s In.

To God be the Glory!

We have just completed another amazing school year at the Joseph School. Thanks to our donors, our students have experienced a fun and educating year! Thirty-one students will be moving to the second grade and 30 students will be graduating to first grade. We are also planning to welcome a new class of kindergarteners. We are not sure how many students we’ll have in our new Kindergarten class, but if they are anything like our previous class, they are going to be bright, adorable and ready to learn.

This school year could not have been a success without the help from our faithful donors. To everyone who’s supported us thus far, we want to say thank you! Your investment in TJS has already made an incredible impact in the lives of our current 61 students, their family and their communities.

Although our students are now out for the summer, we still have much work to do. This past August, we broke ground on our 20 acres of land for the new permanent school. Prayerfully, construction will start in July so that we can open the doors of the new school this September as we welcome our new class of kindergartens.

We’re excited about this transition and we are so grateful for prayers and support as we continue this incredible journey.


Laying a Firm Foundation: The Joseph School Construction Begins

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The Joseph School Construction Begins

The Joseph School is laying a firm foundation of knowledge, leadership, service and faith with the children of Cabaret.  Now we are laying a firm foundation for the stones and mortar of the school itself.  This week The Joseph School began digging the foundation for the gate to the land you see here.

This past school year, The Joseph School started with a kindergarten class of 31 students and 5 teachers meeting in a large rental house in Cabaret, Haiti.  Because the Haitian government believes in The Joseph School mission, they gave TJS over 20 acres of land to build a permanent school.  The government’s stipulation was that we begin and not allow the land to lie unused.  Because of generous gifts from people like you, we have started with site improvements, a gate and a road.

In September a new class will join the current class at TJS bringing our total student population to about 60 students in kindergarten and 1st grade.  Our goal is to have the permanent school ready for these students to move into by January.

To do that, we need your help.  Many of you have been very generous already.  Some of you have waited to give when construction begins.  If you can give to help out with construction, your gift would be very timely.  If you cannot, we ask you to pray for The Joseph School, its staff, teachers and students.  God is doing amazing work in and through the school.  We hope you will continue to be a part of this effort.

It’s an exciting time for The Joseph School and we are grateful for your friendship as we are on this incredible journey to see lives changed in Haiti.

 

 


Opening Ceremony & Dedication for The Joseph School

A day we have faithfully prayed for has come.  The Joseph School has opened its doors.

Teachers. Students. Parents. Neighbors. Staff. Friends.

Everyone came out to dedicate The Joseph School to the Lord. It was an exciting day for those in Haiti and for those here in the states as well.

We’ve waited many years for this day. It’s been worth the wait.

31 Kindergarten Students

15 boys and 16 girls all from the surrounding villages of Cabaret. 7 of the students come from the local orphanage. All have been tested and meet (or exceed) Kindergarten standards. These youngsters are SHARP! We’re already so proud of them.

5 Teachers

We are blessed to have some of the best teachers in Haiti: Jenny, Darling, Sonia, Rose and Israel. Pray for wisdom and creativity as our teachers pour into the next generation of leaders!

1 Goal 

Our mutual goal is to develop Haitian servant leaders who love God and love Haiti.