Sunday, August 20, 2017

Summer Camp 2017: Week 7 (Chelle, Carleen, and Patrick)

This trip marked my 13th visit to Haiti and it was so special since it was the end of summer camp! I spent the week working with one of my sponsor kids teaching him how to spell his name. By the end of the week, he was writing perfect w's! I spent one-on-one time with my sponsor kids, and each time will be a cherished memory, whether it was writing with Willy, painting Didi's nails and having her braid my hair, dancing with Demas, making cookies with Jude, relaxing with Lucienne, or going to church with Chachou. I can't wait to see what my next trip to TOHH has in store for me!

~ Chelle Overton, Summer Camp 2017 Missionary
Each trip to Haiti my passion for this beautiful place grows. The second I step off the airline, I see more and more progress. This trip was pretty special because it was the last week of summer camp, so we got all the excitement like the party, hearing the kids perform their songs in front of us, their friends, and family. Even though I don't have a sponsored child, I was so happy to be invited here to spend the past 10 days here to take part in summer camp with 3 of my favorite people from all my past trips.

~ Patrick "Ti Brother" Cunha, Summer Camp 2017 Missionary

I was blessed to be able to spend the last 10 days at a place so dear to my heart. A place I feel to be my home away from home, where I feel incredibly welcome and loved. Though I've been several times, the experiences each time are new and even more rewarding. This visit, I spent time with the children during their 2nd annual summer camp. What a great time we ALL had! It was so inspiring to see how excited they are to learn and create. I look forward to seeing my seven sponsored children and, each time, it's quite obvious that they are equally as excited! The highlight of the trip was the end of summer camp fèt (party)! Our group, some of my dearest friends, work all day along with our Haitian children and TOHH staff. The children enjoyed a wonderful evening of singing and awards. It could not have turned out better. We ended our trip with swimming at Taino Beach after sharing lobster with the children. I look forward to the next visit. I miss these hugs and smiles the moment I leave!

~ Carleen Desrochers, Summer Camp 2017 Missionary


TOHH Announcements

Would you like to come on a mission trip to Haiti?
We would love to have you for one week (or more) at TOHH in Grand Goâve!



Holiday Sponsorship Trip 2017:
December 27, 2017 - January 3, 2018

We currently have spots available on the Holiday Sponsorship 2017 Team! This team will be doing a variety of activities with the sponsored children. These include home visits to the children's homes, crafts, baking, a holiday party, a hike, a trip to the beach, and a possible home improvement project (additional cost, to be discussed at pre-trip meetings). 

This team will have pre-trip meetings before traveling to Haiti. The cost of each trip is as follows:
$125 - Deposit (includes the cost of a TOHH shirt that we request you wear on travel day)
$450 -TOHH Guesthouse Fee (includes three meals/day, housing, transport to and from the airport in Haiti, and operational costs)
Flights - purchased by each volunteer at a pre-trip meeting

If you'd like to join the trip, please fill out an application form here: www.treeofhopehaiti.org/volunteers/application

For more information about preparing for a trip to Haiti, visit: www.treeofhopehaiti.org/volunteers/preparing-for-a-trip/

Would you like to lead your own team to Haiti?

Are you a church or school group? TOHH accepts missionary teams of 10 - 24 people. Once you have a team forming, contact us to request dates and begin preparing your team for Haiti. To submit your request for a one- to two-week trip, please email us at info@treeofhopehaiti.org.





Sunday, August 13, 2017

Summer Camp 2017: Week 6 (Laurice)

This past week, I joined my daughter, Cassandra Clemente, at Tree of Hope Haiti to help out with the 2017 Summer Camp program.  As Cassandra’s mom, it’s been a lot of fun watching this program develop from the heart of a young woman who had fallen in love with Haiti, its people, its culture and the community of Grand-Goâve.  I’ve been privileged to see the many hours of Math and English lesson planning that went into the Summer Camp program’s development in 2016.  I watched from the sidelines during that fateful Skype meeting as Cassandra made her proposal to Gama and Angela.   I silently cheered with excitement when they gave their acceptance.  And then the real fun began as I watched Cassandra work tirelessly to spread the word of her program and raise funding needed for Summer Camp 2016, gathering school supplies and finding a way to transport it all to Haiti in just 2 hockey bags, all the while learning to speak Creole at an amazing pace. Somehow, being the determined young woman that she is, she did just that, and her dream came to fruition last year.  Summer Camp 2016 had a class of 38 students held under a little tent in the TOHH yard and it was a huge success.   
I have to admit being a bit nervous about how Summer Camp 2017 could be organized to accommodate so many more kids.  In just one year, the program had grown from 38 students to over 100.  It’s been amazing to watch as Gama, Angela and Cassandra focused on ensuring this year would be just as successful for these children and more planning began to achieve this.  From beginning the Pavilion Project which would serve as a classroom and shelter for the kids from the heat as well as a venue to hold other community events, to utilizing the advanced older students as classroom “helpers," breaking down the children into 3 specific classes based on age and level of learning, and introducing the Summer Camp Mission Trips, I saw firsthand that, together, they achieved their goal and created another amazing Summer Camp program for over 100 kids!
What an amazing week it has been for me to witness this! I am completely amazed at the curriculum Cassandra has put together for these children, stimulating and challenging them at each particular level of learning, and the way in which she instructs and conducts her classroom. She is an exceptional teacher to her students and her passion and love for Haiti and these kids shines through.  I quickly learned that the TOHH Summer Camp offers so much more than Math and English lessons.  It is love in action.   
As Cassandra had shared with me last year, before these children can receive the help they need with academics, they first need those basic everyday things we all take for granted – a pair of shoes, a meal, shelter, basic nursing care, and a loving presence in their lives as many of these kids have suffered the loss of one or both parents.  TOHH gives them all this, supplementing their academics during these summer months, when they would otherwise have nothing to do; providing a snack and a drink, knowing the one good meal most normally ate each day was the one they had at school; and providing them with an amazing teacher who thinks of them as her own kids, knows each one’s unique story and does all she can to grow each child with love, discipline and an understanding of their culture and specific particular needs. 
What fun I had learning to know these children this week, something which isn’t easy to do when you only know four basic sentences in Creole!  It’s funny how quickly you can become attached to these kids in spite of that.
There was Johnsley, the 16 year old boy with a hunger to learn English.  I first saw Johnsley working as an English translator in church on Sunday and was completely impressed with him. I’m horrible with names, but quickly recognized Johnsley by the composition notebook he always had in hand, and the way he would greet me each day with “Hello Laurice!  What new English words can you teach me today?” in his cute Haitian accent.  I quickly found out that it wasn’t easy to find a word that wasn’t already in Johnsley’s notebook!  By the end of the week, Cassandra and I were reading his little book to learn a few new words ourselves!
Wilzer, at 18 years old, is one of the oldest TOHH sponsored children, who is an advanced student with exceptional English as well. Wilzer impressed me with his quiet and mature nature, a polite and caring leader who worked with the younger students in Summer Camp each Monday through Thursday. But you could tell Friday, the advanced student’s class day, was absolutely his favorite day of the week!
Both Wiltzer and Johnsley are so advanced that Cassandra had begun giving these two their own, more challenging activities.  For this week, they were each tasked with translating their favorite books from English to Creole.  Never have I seen two young men smile so widely, happy and excited to receive a challenging school assignment as these two boys were! For the next two and a half hours, these two translated their books, cover to cover, copyrights and infringements included, proud as could be of their achievements!
Daicha is a sweet 12 year old girl who is a firm little leader and disciplinarian to the younger students. She seems to have developed an interest in becoming a nurse since attending the Wound Workshop that the Holiday Sponsorship team held last year.  If ever someone had a scrape or a cut, you could bet Daicha was nearby, eager to put on some gloves and help assist Cassandra in taking care of the wounded!
On Monday, I met sweet and shy little Jean Guerry and his older sister who brought him in to the office to meet with Cassandra after becoming sponsored last week.  How touching it was to witness the impact a new sponsorship has on a child and their family and to watch the joy as we welcomed him into Summer Camp for the first time on Tuesday.  This little boy is absolutely adorable! Quiet, shy and intent to stay focused on learning, it was so rewarding to see Jean Guerry look up at you and smile, feeling welcomed and reassured with a little kindness that didn’t require the two of us to speak the same language.
In preparing for my trip, Cassandra had asked me to pack as many protein bars as I could carry.  Over the course of the week, I watched and learned more of the children’s stories as Cass would discreetly pull a child aside and offer them a bar where none of the others could see.  Like any good teacher, Cassandra, I learned, was watching her students carefully, knowing when someone wasn’t quite right, was unable to focus, having a growth spurt or simply hadn’t had a real meal in a while.  She realized early on last year that if these children were to learn successfully, first their basic needs had to be met. 
There are so many children and stories to tell from the course of this short one week trip.  I had so many wonderful moments, but I think my absolute favorite was the joy I saw in the students’ faced who had followed Gama, Cassandra and I on our Friday excursion to Taino beach.  I wondered why these kids would possibly walk almost an hour in this sweltering heat to join us for this special trip.  But after feeding them the leftovers from our delicious lobster feast, treating them to an ice cream and having fun swimming together and cooling off at the beach, I realized that, in this moment, they had all that we get to enjoy in America almost every day – a full stomach, relief from the oppressive heat and a brief moment when they could just be children, having fun in the water, laughing and playing and without a care in the world. It was beautiful.
It’s hard to make sense of the injustice and unfairness that comes with life in Haiti, and what many of its people must live without. Or to understand why some, like myself, are fortunate enough to be born into a life where our bare necessities are always met and actually taken for granted. It’s hard to leave behind these children who are hungry, dirty and in need of these basic comforts to which every person is entitled.  This is made easier though knowing that TOHH, Gama and Angela and their staff remain behind doing the hard work and that there is much we too can do here in the states to help them.


As Summer Camp comes to a close next week, the staff at TOHH will begin to focus on preparing their 112 sponsored children for school which begins in September. That mean 112 kids measurements will be taken, 112 uniforms will be sewn, 112 pairs of shoes will be donated or purchased and 112 backpacks will be filled with school supplies. This is a lot of work and requires much funding. Please consider helping TOHH in any way you can.  Donate a used backpack or clothing, buy a block and help fund the Pavilion, join one of the Mission Trips, ship a barrel of supplies or make a financial donation.  Nothing we do in the States to help is too small.

And please remember in your daily prayers the beautiful people of Haiti and the loving staff of TOHH, who worked tirelessly every day to bring a better future to this community.  Together, I know we all can make a difference in the lives of these beautiful people.
 ~ Laurice, Summer Camp 2017 Missionary 

TOHH Announcements

Would you like to come on a mission trip to Haiti?
We would love to have you for one week (or more) at TOHH in Grand Goâve!



Holiday Sponsorship Trip 2017:
December 27, 2017 - January 3, 2018

We currently have spots available on the Holiday Sponsorship 2017 Team! This team will be doing a variety of activities with the sponsored children. These include home visits to the children's homes, crafts, baking, a holiday party, a hike, a trip to the beach, and a possible home improvement project (additional cost, to be discussed at pre-trip meetings). 

This team will have pre-trip meetings before traveling to Haiti. The cost of each trip is as follows:
$125 - Deposit (includes the cost of a TOHH shirt that we request you wear on travel day)
$450 -TOHH Guesthouse Fee (includes three meals/day, housing, transport to and from the airport in Haiti, and operational costs)
Flights - purchased by each volunteer at a pre-trip meeting

If you'd like to join the trip, please fill out an application form here: www.treeofhopehaiti.org/volunteers/application

For more information about preparing for a trip to Haiti, visit: www.treeofhopehaiti.org/volunteers/preparing-for-a-trip/

Would you like to lead your own team to Haiti?

Are you a church or school group? TOHH accepts missionary teams of 10 - 24 people. Once you have a team forming, contact us to request dates and begin preparing your team for Haiti. To submit your request for a one- to two-week trip, please email us at info@treeofhopehaiti.org.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Summer Camp 2017: Week 5

This week, we want to give you a closer look at TOHH Summer Camp, and the work we've been doing in Haiti this summer! Our kids have had an amazing summer so far, and so have our missionaries!

Last year's summer camp class had a total of 38 children in it, and we held camp in the downstairs area of the TOHH Guesthouse. This year, we have expanded the program to include roughly 125 children! Due to this incredibly large number of kids, we decided to divide summer camp into three groups.



The first group is children ages 4 and under. This class goes to summer camp on Mondays. They do a variety of activities, on a Preschool level. The work with their hands, practice writing, learn shapes, songs, and play games. They are so sweet and love to have fun! Some activities they have done this year include making shapes with WikiSticks, writing letters on whiteboards, and listening to The Very Hungry Caterpillar.






The second group meets Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and includes the majority of our summer camp kids. This group is ages 5 to 12.











The big group is so much fun! They mainly do activities to strengthen their Math and English skills, as well as some fun games and crafts. Some activities they have done so far this summer are addition stories, practicing Math with Base 10 blocks, learning the verb 'to be,' and doing some leaf rubbings!


The last group is made up of our oldest, most academically advanced children. This group of kids ages 13 and older meets on Fridays. They are very motivated and serious about learning, especially English. On Fridays, we have been working specifically with this class on their English skills. 

So far, they have used games and other activities to learn the verb 'to be,' how to conjugate a verb in English, and some of the most useful English words.




We are so happy that, thanks to our child sponsors, we are able to feed the children crackers and juice every day for snack! The children are fed one meal a day at school, however, since they are not at school in the summer and not receiving that meal, many of the children will often be hungry. This makes all the difference to many of the kids!







We are also so proud of some of our older kids that are helpers for our summer camp program! They are doing an amazing job, and we love having them!!











We have loved having missionaries with us in Haiti this summer to help with summer camp! The kids absolutely love having them, and have such a great time! The summer camp
missionaries have time to interact with the children at summer camp, as well as visit their home, and spend time with them as part of our community in Grand-Goâve. They have done a variety of other activities such as market trips, waterfall hikes, beach trips, and more!





We want to thank the missionaries that have come to Haiti so far this summer, and will come in the following weeks! Thank you for making this summer one to remember for our kids!!


You can follow this last two weeks of TOHH Summer Camp on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Facebook: Tree of Hope Haiti
Twitter: @treeofhopehaiti
Instagram: @treeofhopehaiti

Thank you again to all the child sponsors, donors, missionaries, and supports for making this an amazing summer for our kids - and it's not even over yet!

~ Cassandra

TOHH Announcements

Would you like to come on a mission trip to Haiti?
We would love to have you for one week (or more) at TOHH in Grand Goâve!



Holiday Sponsorship Trip 2017:
December 27, 2017 - January 3, 2018

We currently have spots available on the Holiday Sponsorship 2017 Team! This team will be doing a variety of activities with the sponsored children. These include home visits to the children's homes, crafts, baking, a holiday party, a hike, a trip to the beach, and a possible home improvement project (additional cost, to be discussed at pre-trip meetings). 

This team will have pre-trip meetings before traveling to Haiti. The cost of each trip is as follows:
$125 - Deposit (includes the cost of a TOHH shirt that we request you wear on travel day)
$450 -TOHH Guesthouse Fee (includes three meals/day, housing, transport to and from the airport in Haiti, and operational costs)
Flights - purchased by each volunteer at a pre-trip meeting

If you'd like to join the trip, please fill out an application form here: www.treeofhopehaiti.org/volunteers/application

For more information about preparing for a trip to Haiti, visit: www.treeofhopehaiti.org/volunteers/preparing-for-a-trip/

Would you like to lead your own team to Haiti?

Are you a church or school group? TOHH accepts missionary teams of 10 - 24 people. Once you have a team forming, contact us to request dates and begin preparing your team for Haiti. To submit your request for a one- to two-week trip, please email us at info@treeofhopehaiti.org.







Sunday, July 30, 2017

Summer Camp 2017: Week 4 (Casey)


When I first began to consider doing a missionary trip I wondered if this was something I should really bring my children with me on. I wasn't sure they could handle being in a third world country nor would they be able to understand that many people in this world don't live the way we do. I spent lots of time thinking about this and then came to the conclusion that there was no better place for them to experience missionary work than in Haiti where the children suffer so much.
I began to look into different missionary groups and ultimately I chose Tree Of Hope for several reasons. One reason was because it seemed smaller and more intimate than some others and another was because we would be working with someone who experienced this first hand as Gama has grown up in the situation these children are living in. I began communications with Cassandra and started to get very excited for our trip to Haiti. 








When we arrived in Haiti it was quite shocking even for me to see the culture and the way these people live. I looked around at everything as we drove to the house and eventually I saw past the poverty and realized I was in one of the most beautiful islands I had ever seen. The mountains and ocean were equally as beautiful but nothing compared to its children.

Our first day there we went for a walk to go find a child who had been injured and needed his bandage changed. On that walk we instantly made about 20 little friends. These children walked with us and held our hands. They had never met us but they knew we were there to help in any way we could. That night I was so excited to spend more time with them and couldn't wait for the rest of the week.




Fast forward to Monday when our first group of campers arrived and these little tiny smiling faces arrived at camp ready and eager to learn. They were all so smart. We did shape books and sang songs and got to know each one of their tiny personalities.  It was love at first sight!







Day two, we had the next group of slightly older children who know a lot more English and are really focused on learning. They were full of energy and eager to soak up everything we taught them. There were bonds formed immediately, not only with the little ones but also our older helpers who were so kind as to give their time and come help translate for us and help us teach the kids things. We did word matches and paint by numbers and the kids got a lot out of it. I loved recess when we got to know these kids more and spend free time with them.



We got so close to these kids and spent the majority of our time with them even after camp. We would do home visits and the kids would follow along by our sides in hopes that when we were done we would spend time playing soccer or other games with them which most nights we did. We even tried to teach the kids about animal compassion as we fed a few "adopted" dogs and gave one of them medicine to help with an eye infection. The people in Haiti don't keep animals as pets the way we do so initially they thought we were crazy for doing this bit eventually we saw them wanting to help us find the dogs to care for them.

Bring on Friday when we finally got to spend time with some of the older kids who came to camp. These kids were amazing! We spent most of the time conjugating verbs which we all know is not something easy to understand especially when you are used to a language with no conjugation. These kids were like sponges, they soaked it all up and I heard them amongst each other making little sentences using the words we were going over, "You are funny," "I am very smart." They were so excited to use what they learned. Some of these kids are so advanced in their English that they asked me questions like 'what does tidings and scoundrel mean'? Wow, they blew me away.


Friday after camp we went to the beach which is about a one hour walk from where the kids live. When we arrived at the beach they were there waiting for us. They didn't care how long the walk was they just wanted to spend more time with us.







 It was so much fun! We laughed and swam and tried to teach some of them to swim and we enjoyed ice cream together. I was so thankful they made that walk to spend time with us.


After the beach we headed home to get ready for movie night. The kids filed in and sat on the lawn so excited to watch a movie. I think there was about 75 of them total in their best clothes and wearing the best smiles I have ever seen! We all day together and laughed together watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was an awesome night. At the end of the movie we had to begin our goodbyes which was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. We had become like a huge family and now we were having to leave them. My heart broke.


Our final goodbyes on Saturday were excruciating for me. I wish I could stay forever. These kids need us and I needed them! As we drove away with tears rolling down my face I thought of how lucky they are to have Gama and Cassandra and Angela. They are these children's angels on Earth. They are doing amazing things for them and I believe it will create a much brighter future for these kids.




Words can't express how thankful I am that we took this trip and that my children got to experience it with me. Until next time my loves!

~ Casey Proper, TOHH Summer Camp 2017 Missionary



TOHH Announcements
Would you like to come on a mission trip to Haiti?
We would love to have you for one week (or more) at TOHH in Grand-Goâve!



Holiday Sponsorship Trip 2017:
December 27, 2017 - January 3, 2018

We currently have spots available on the Holiday Sponsorship 2017 Team! This team will be doing a variety of activities with the sponsored children! These include home visits to the children's homes, crafts, baking, a holiday party, a hike, a trip to the beach, and a possible home improvement project (additional cost, to be discussed at pre-trip meetings). 

This team will have pre-trip meetings before traveling to Haiti. The cost of each trip is as follows:

$125 - Deposit (includes the cost of a TOHH shirt that we request you wear on travel day)
$450 - TOHH Guesthouse Fee (includes three meals/day, housing, transport to and from the airport in Haiti, and operations costs)
Flights - Purchased by each volunteer at a pre-trip meeting


If you'd like to join the trip, please fill out an application form here: http://treeofhopehaiti.org/volunteers/application

For more information about preparing for a trip to Haiti, follow this link: http://treeofhopehaiti.org/volunteers/preparing-for-a-trip/


Would you like to lead your own team to Haiti? 


Are you a church or school group? TOHH accepts missionary teams of 10 - 24 people. Once you have a team forming, contact us to request dates and begin preparing your team for Haiti. To submit your request for a one- to two-week trip, please email us at info@treeofhopehaiti.org.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Summer Camp 2017: Week 3 (Janey)



Haiti has a special place in my heart. I have been so fortunate to come to this country again and spend two weeks here at Tree of Hope...although two weeks in not enough! Spending time here has opened my eyes and my heart in ways that are hard to put into words.







This summer camp that Cassandra and Tree of Hope have created is such a blessing. There are so many children that come in and have bunches of fun while benefitting from the extra opportunity to learn during the summer time. It is such a wonderful place for the community to come together to learn and grow. Being able to see so many beautiful, smiling faces instantly warms my heart. What I really enjoyed this second week was becoming even more comfortable with the kids. I felt more comfortable knowing more names and working more to help as many with their learning as possible. 

We were able to visit homes and to go see the kids playing in different places, and I really began to see how this is where their whole lives are. The people in this community are full of love, smiles and kindness. The have so little in comparison to what we have at home in the states, and yet their love is so rich. The kids all love to gather in the area where the pavilion is being built to play soccer, tag, joke around or to watch us feed the neighborhood dog Scooby. There is so much joy radiating from their little faces from being able to be around their friends. So many hugs, handshakes and giggles - and I still didn’t get enough! 

What I really loved while being in Grand Goave was the opportunity to get out and see the people and their community. This is where they live all the time - its where the kids play, parents work, where families eat sleep and breathe. When initially seeing the circumstances that are all around my first emotion was shock. There are too many people that are in need of better living situations and its overwhelming to try to wrap my head around how to reach out and help every single person. But what I’ve taken away from my time is that you just have to start with the people. No matter how big or how small the action is, putting your effort and whole heart into these people is where the change starts. 

If you’re feeling a calling towards Haiti, go for it! I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have had to spend more time here, and I cannot wait to get back!!


TOHH Announcements

Would you like to come on a mission trip to Haiti?

We would love to have you volunteer for one week (or more) at TOHH in Grand Goâve!

Holiday Sponsorship Trip 2017:
December 27, 2017 - January 3, 2018

We currently have spots available on the Holiday Sponsorship 2017 Team! This team will be doing a variety of activities with the sponsored children! These include home visits to the children's homes, crafts, baking, a holiday party, a hike, a trip to the beach, and a possible home improvement project (additional cost, to be discussed at pre-trip meetings). 

This team will have pre-trip meetings before traveling to Haiti. The cost of each trip is as follows:

$125 - Deposit (includes the cost of a TOHH shirt that we request you wear on travel day)
$450 - TOHH Guesthouse Fee (includes three meals/day, housing, transport to and from the airport in Haiti, and operations costs)
Flights - Purchased by each volunteer at a pre-trip meeting

If you'd like to join the trip, please fill out an application form here: http://treeofhopehaiti.org/volunteers/application

For more information about preparing for a trip to Haiti, follow this link: http://treeofhopehaiti.org/volunteers/preparing-for-a-trip/

Would you like to lead your own team to Haiti? 




Are you a church or school group? TOHH accepts missionary teams of 10 - 24 people. Once you have a team forming, contact us to request dates and begin preparing your team for Haiti. To submit your request for a one- to two-week trip, please email us at info@treeofhopehaiti.org.