Haiti Haitian American Haitian Leaders

Repost: How a Group of Haitian-American Childhood Friends Got Together to Help Youths in Haiti

Hey Team group pic

I love reading the post over at my fellow blogger Kreyolicious blog. Here is a very good article on How a Group of Haitian-American Childhood Friends Got Together to Help Youths in Haiti.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Herman Dolce, Angelo Antoine, Marc Antoine, Gary Joanis, and Philippe Sainvil were more than good friends. They were all tied at the umbilical cord, culturally speaking, as their Haitian background was definitely a factor in bringing them together. Their relatives knew each other from the tight-knit Haitian community in Philly. Dolce and Antoine attended the same church—the Haitian Evangelical Baptist Church. Joanis’ grandmother often babysat Antoine, when he was a toddler.

In their teens, most of the little clique attended Martin Luther King High School. As they changed churches, as some of them moved, they remained friends, most of them reconnecting as students at Temple University or through the organization Coalition of Young Christians of Pennsylvania (of which several of them are still members). Their lives had gotten them to different directions, education-wise. Joanis had attended and earned a Bachelors in Science from Penn State University. Dolce had received a Bachelors from Temple University and a Masters from Lincoln University. Angelo Antoine had graduated Penn State University and was pursuing his Masters at Holy Family University. Sainvil opted to make gaining work experience as his priority, piling up plenty of experience as a banker and manager, while working towards his Associate’s degree in Business. Marc Antoine chose the communications sector, earning a Bachelors in Public Relations from Immaculata University. Before long, it was apparent that they all had developed another thing in common: an ardent passion for Haiti and a huge desire to promote a shift in this generation. It occurred to them that they could put the weight of all their education towards the good of Haiti. They put their minds together, and eventually got Haiti Engaging Youth, a non-profit organization, on its feet.

Gary Joanis was elected Vice President of Haiti Engaging Youth. Angelo Antoine was selected as Fundraising Chair, and Marc Antoine as the Ministerial Coordinator. Along the way they met Christelle Chery, a student at Penn State and Bianca Roseau, a hyperactive member of the Haitian Student Organization at Temple University. Chery currently serves as the Social Media Coordinator for Haiti Engaging Youth, while Roseau is the Fundraising Chairperson, most recently having overseen a successful fundraising fashion show. Gaelle Baptiste is the organization’s Youth Alliance Coordinator. She, Antoine, Sainvil, used to engage in cheerful chatter at basketball games, and probably didn’t fathom that they would come together for a more serious cause. To top things off, the group selected Gaelle Baptiste as College Coordinator and Dominique Goss, also a Temple University graduate, and the only non-Haitian among Haiti Engaging Youth, to serve as CFO.

As president of Haiti Engaging Youth—or Hey as it’s commonly called—Sainvil goes back and forth between his home in Pennsylvania and Haiti. His mission on each trip: to establish a continuous rapport with youths in Haiti and connecting them with other young people of Haitian background in the United States. But that is only part of the HEY mission. The organization actually has a three-sided objective. For one, to equip youths in Haiti with trade skills. For another, to distribute food (empty stomachs can’t make brains think, after all). It also has a medicine leg that makes sure that the region it serves is adequately supplied with medicine.

The team members of the non-profit organization work diligently to get new partners. They held a cultural day earlier this year, during which they educated attendees all over Philadelphia about the history of Haiti, and held a special presentation and featured a live painting done by Philadelphia-based visual artist Ivben Taqiy. The HEY team has worked with Temple University’s Haitian Student Organization on doing the aforementioned fundraising fashion show, and have a mission trip planned for this year. The team behind Haiti Engaging Youth is constantly brainstorming new ways to push the organization forward. – CONTINUE READING HERE

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