Can you feel the buzz in the air?
The back-to-school buzz?
I remember when I was a kid that this was always my favorite time of year. Even more so than the Christmas season!
I loved getting new crayons and colored pencils.
The feel of a new back pack brought a tremendous amount of confidence.
Knowing that I would soon be seeing my friends 5 days a week filled me with a thrill.
The back-to-school buzz we're all feeling right now is not much different in Haiti.
Just like here, many children are gearing up to head back to school in a little under a month.
But unlike in the United States, public education isn't available for all children.
90% of primary schools are non-public and managed by communities, religious organizations or NGOs (USAID 2007). Even so, only 50 percent of children currently attend school. (World Bank 2013).
We've seen the incredible power education has played in the lives of the youth we work with at the Maranatha House and its Transitions Program. We've shed tears of joy with Danielo and Wideline as they joined privileged few with a high school diploma. We've had the privilege to see over 90 other students in the village of Titanyen go to school because of the support of our Ncompass community.
And we cannot NOT do something to help offset this outrageous statistic.
This year - in addition to maintaining support of the youth we already serve, we want to extend our outreach by providing education for 100 more students in Titanyen at Ecole Myosotis (Myosotis School).
Here are three ways you can help us have an even greater impact in Titanyen.
Katie Matheny, Ncompass Executive Director
If you've ever been to Haiti, you will remember how rough the roads are: potholes, worn pavement and debris, all do a number on a car, most especially the tires.
While having good tires all the time can be costly (around $600/yr), it is vitally important. Proper tread is needed to drive when roads get slick from hard rains and oil leaks.
So it may come as no surprise that when the time comes to replace tires on the orphanage vehicle - it is a top priority.
It may also not come as a suprise that the kids at the Maranatha House are not slowing down at growing up. Many of them are expressing interest in reaching the milestone of learning how to drive. They want to experience the freedom that comes from being behind the wheel. They want to explore their community and country. They want an opportunity to drive themselves to future jobs.
Our Orphanage Director, Melchi Chery, has been teaching some of the older kids how to drive. But he's not just focused on teaching how to drive the vehicle, but also how to care for it.
"When you drive in Haiti - you can't just learn how to drive. You have to learn how to care for the vehicle too! You can't take it to a mechanic for everything. You have to learn how to take care of it yourself."
They have learned how to check fluid levels, check tire pressure and tread. Skills that can be cost savings in the future when they are driving so they can identify and fix simple problems before they require a mechanic. This knowledge also benefits each of them in other ways - teaching many forms of responsibility.
Last week, our Xterra's tires were replaced. And Melchi used this opportunity to teach the kids how to change a tire.
While we may feel a bit sad that these kids are growing up so fast that they are nearly drivers... we are more than excited for their BRIGHT futures!
Do you remember a time when you had something wonderful laid out and it didn’t go according to plan... but it went better? I feel like this month has been full of reminders of us making plans and God adjusting them to fit His will.
We had people praying daily for the open sponsorship spot and God showed up in a big way - right before we left for Haiti! Just 24 hours prior to boarding a plane to head to Haiti - we received a message from a donor asking to fill all remaining sponsorship spots for the kids at the Maranatha House.
Every. Single. One!
What this means is that we not only will be able to sustainably continue to offer the same amazing services for these children, but we can improve on what we already have and expand our outreach further.
We thought we would record the kids' reaction when we told them about this well-fought victory... and let me tell you...it was anticlimactic. It wasn't until 2 days later that I realized how valuable it was that they hadn't realized the impact and implication of it. These kids know that they are going to be cared for, just like our own sons and daughters know and trust that of us. Because of people like you, we can breathe easy knowing that they will have a place to live, they will eat, have shoes, exceptional care, AND receive a top education.
While the initial reaction may not have been as dramatic as we had hoped, the kids were still excited to celebrate with us once we popped some sparkling cider!
The week in Haiti was full of highlights and praises happening every day. The first day we got to give a special gift to Danielo that his sponsors got for him. It was exactly what he had asked for, a camera. We learned in the days to come that photography can become a lucrative opportunity for him. He was both humble, excited, and grateful for the opportunity to be sponsored through school. He will be attending college in the fall where he’ll study computer networking and videography.
Friday we attended Danielo's graduation and then witnessed him at his own party serve his guests with such an open heart.
Saturday we spent time washing the feet of the children and staff. They really took it to heart. And without prompting, took action and began washing each other’s feet. We talked a lot about serving, and how even serving someone we may have a hard time loving, can change our hearts towards Christ.
We had 3 of our kids named “Top of the Class,” --a huge accomplishment! So we treated them to ice cream and to the beautiful beach for some swimming. They were very proud of their achievements and excited to celebrate! That night while the rain poured down around us, we ate popcorn while kids watched a movie on a laptop and enjoyed the time together. Watching this take place felt like a realization of 7 years of Ncompass family prayers culminating.
It was very clear that every step and every meeting of this trip was ordained exactly the way it was supposed to happen. We had big accomplishments, big dreams, and big encouragements.
We couldn't have done it without you faithful prayers and support! THANK YOU!
With much love and Prayers,
Author: Alicia French
Alicia is Ncompass's faithful Prayer Coordinator. If you're interested in becoming a prayer warrior, CLICK HERE.
The Ncompass family has been supporting the incredible children of the Maranatha House Orphanage since 2011. Each one has their own unique story, and we believe that God is using their experiences, skills, & passions, along with their mentors, teachers, role models, & sponsors to develop their stories into ones that will influence and change their families, community, and country!
These are kids we want to stand with!
Just a few months ago, it was announced that our sponsorship program would be expanding to provide more support and services to these youth. Each child at the Maranatha House would need 6 sponsors, and those in Transitions would need 7, each providing $35 monthly to meet the financial need connected with these important services.
Collectively, we knew that in order for these kids to THRIVE, these things were a must. It has been such an incredible time watching so many people step into the lives of these children. For some of you, you've been wanting to do it for a while and the timing was right. For others - this was a sacrifice that you felt would grow your faith. Or for others, you have met these children on a trip, and understand the value that this program expansion will provide for them.
No matter the reason, the result is transformational! For the child of course, but for the sponsor as well! You are taking part in developing a future leader to reach their full potential and influence others for good. THANK YOU!
And the momentum is continuing to grow! Last week, our Prayer Coordinator, Alicia, committed to praying one minute for every sponsorship spot still needed for every child in our program. She is praying over the current and future sponsors for these kids, that they would hear the Lord's calling for them to join this child's story, and that this would impact their lives too. She is also praying for the child themselves, that God would prepare and reveal to them their future and His plans for them. And the Lord has been answering her prayers! In just a matter of days since she started praying, 21 sponsorship spots were claimed!
As of today, we are 94% of the way toward having ALL of the children FULLY SPONSORED. As Ncompass continues to deepen its relationship with Haiti, it becomes more and more vital that we can sustainably take care of the children who were first placed in our care before expanding to help more. As a community, we stand with these children and with Haiti, and believe we will reach our goal of completely sponsoring all of our children by the end of June. This will create time for the fruit of these services to take root during the summer and jump start these kids for school in the fall. Additionally, it will allow for the furthering of our village education program in the months to come.
Here are the 8 youth who need some level of sponsorship. As a collective group of individuals who have big dreams, yet who are willing to be faithful over the small things, I'm inviting you to take the next step that is right for you.
Will you PRAY?
Would you join Alicia, and pray daily for 1 or 2 of the remaining youth until they become fully sponsored? You can use the slides above, or visit these links to have the most current status of sponsorships for these children.
The Maranatha House Orphanage
The Transitions Program
We'd also like to invite you to join our prayer group.
Will you SHARE?
As someone who already is invested and involved, could you share your own story of why these children matter to you, with someone who shares your same values, and ask them to join you in this opportunity to invest in the future of Haiti?
Will you SPONSOR?
There are 8 youth who need some level of sponsorship. Will you consider becoming a sponsor and covering one or more sponsorship spots? $35 a month provides resources and support for these children, but also the hope that someone on the other side of the world cares for them and understands their value.
Thank you for your continued support for these children. The future is bright, and knowing that these kids will be well taken care of well creates so much hope for the future!
These past few months have been incredibly exciting! So much is happening in Haiti because of the generous prayers and gifts from our partners!
Here are some highlights from our programs in Haiti and an opportunity to join us in creating more good for these amazing children.
We were able to purchase a second vehicle at the orphanage that will allow the staff to take care of business more efficiently, and our primary truck (which had a dead motor) has been revived.
We also have brought in a social worker, Felix, who comes at least once a week to work with our kids. Felix, along with our team of mentors have been doing such a great job helping the kids process trauma, and gain the social and emotional skills needed to thrive in their environment. Additionally - we will be launching a mentorship club in the summer for the younger girls at the orphanage that focuses on Identity and Value.
Seeing what these investments have done, we have been working hard this year to expand on what our sponsorship program provides for the youth in Haiti, and create even more opportunities and support services to help them reach their full potential. When the youth are fully sponsored, we'll be able to sustainably provide for all our kids: school supplies, uniforms, new clothes, field trips, tutoring (as mentioned), mentoring, after-school activities, transportation, utilities and maintenance, hygiene & medical care and a licensed social worker --in addition to food, caregivers, education and housing that sponsorship already provided.
Right now we are 84% of the way toward having ALL of the kids in our programs fully sponsored. You can help us maintain this high level of support for our kids by becoming a sponsor TODAY.
Click the link above to read more about what this program is doing and find a child's profile who still needs sponsors. You will not only impact their life, but your's as well!
If you have been to Haiti with us on one of our trips, you undoubtedly remember Dayson Chery.
Dayson is a stand-out kid with a magnetic personality. After just spending minutes with him, you know there is something special about this young man. He takes life by the horns and chases hard after it. You get the sense that deep in his being, he wants the best for himself so that he can give his best to his community.
Dayson came to know the Maranatha House Orphanage as home when he was just one year old, in 2003. He comes from a large family, that unfortunately could not financially take care of him or many of his siblings. Two of his older siblings, Danielo & Daniela, are a part of the Transitions Program. And two other siblings, Medana and Jherry, live with him at the Maranatha House.
Dayson is a natural leader. He is intentional about taking advantage of the after-school programs made available to him and is learning computer science, as well as English. His English skills are quite good. Last month, while a team was visiting, Dayson tried his hand at translating for our Orphanage Director to the group. While he's not quite ready to pursue this full time, it was so encouraging to see him willing to try. Confidence is something he does not lack!
Among his peers, he has been nominated as the lead boy for his dorm and guides the other boys in activities to keep the house clean and working in the community. He dreams of becoming a pilot one day and enjoys painting. Dayson had a pivotal role in leading the youth to paint the community mural that is on the exterior wall of the orphanage. As a 7th grader, he does well in school and is known for his confidence and leadership skills. In school, he enjoys learning about Haitian and world history.
Our goal is to provide the support and services Dayson, and the rest of his peers need to THRIVE! We want to foster his leadership potential and encourage him to be the influencer his family, community, and country need.
Dayson needs 3 more sponsors at $35/mo.
Would you consider investing in this incredible young leader?
Your support has incredible potential to impact Haiti's future through this young man.
For those of us that travel via plane (frequently or not), it is not uncommon to still be flabbergasted that just a short time ago, we were literally on the other side of the world! The technology that has allowed us to span the earth has essentially now made the phrase "what a small world" so true.
Last week, I was in Haiti and the smiles, successes and sweet stories are still so fresh - I catch myself pondering how I was just there!
We were on our way to a family's house where we got the opportunity to build a roof. This family of 8 had been living in a tarp tent since the 2010 earthquake. Another group had helped build the walls to the house a few years prior, but they still lacked the resources or partnership to put the final piece of the structure together. Ten students from Valor Christian School International, along with an equal number of students from the Maranatha House, made their way along the dusty streets to the house.
I was bringing up the rear, and the site in front of me brought tears to my eyes. Tears of joy that is.
For the past 7 years, as I've gotten to know the children and young adults who have lived at the Maranatha House Orphanage, I have seen the effects poverty and broken families have played. To be a child of an orphanage in Haiti, you are there because either your parents are no longer alive or are unable to care for you in the ways you need. For most of the living parents, sending a child to an orphanage is an act of desperate love! While they believe they are giving their child the best opportunity (and in many cases they are), the lack of physical, tangible, communal love with their parents has a deep impact on them.
Some of the children still have living family members visit them - and we know this is a valuable and important part of their story. We never wish to take that away, and if ever possible, our goal is for reunification of children with their families. However, we know that for the youth we serve to truly be successful, their need for consistent parental love and support is essential. It is for this reason that we are continually motivated to provide the best services and people support for these incredible young people.
What I saw last week, walking in front of me, was a true example of love and support for the young people of Haiti. I saw a mother's love.
Kekette was linked arm in arm with one of the young women in our Transitions program, and one from the Maranatha House.
Kekette is our female Transitions Coordinator. Her role consists of working with the older youth who have transitioned out of life in the orphanage to life on their own. She is there to guide, support and hold them accountable to their goals and dreams. Additionally, she works with the youth still living at the orphanage, helping to prepare them for the inevitable transition into adulthood. This could be just a job for Kekette, but for her it is SO MUCH MORE.
As a mother of 11, Kekette knows a thing or two about raising children. Many of her own children have gone on to have successful careers, are in college, and are following their dreams. She also worked for a number of years doing this same work for another organization. It goes without saying that she is qualified for the position.
But what makes her extraordinary, is the way she cares for each young person she encounters. She loves them as if they were her own. She sees in each of them their unique God-given purpose. She wants the BEST for the youth she works with, and works long hours and has long conversations in order to push each of them to do their best, be their best, and pursue their best.
While my Creole is still rusty, I could clearly understand the LOVE that was clearly understood in the way that she and the youth spoke with each other. She can be tough and have high standards, but it was evident that her love for them was never questioned.
Kekette, along with our male Transitions Coordinator, Achemetre, are essential to the overall success of this program and it's ability to support youth as they transition from orphanage life to a THRIVING adult life.
When you sponsor a young person in our Transitions Program, you are providing exceptional role models and influencers like Kekette for them. Your sponsorship is giving them the guidance and the love that they need to be their best selves and face adulthood with courage. Through Kekette and the rest of the team, you are meeting this deep need to be known and loved. To be valued and supported.
Traveling to Haiti isn't the only way to impact the future there!
Become a sponsor today!
When fully sponsored, our Transitions Program will provide each youth with:
Each one of our youth in the Transitions Program needs 7 sponsors providing $35/mo to provide them with all of these essential services and support.
Sponsors are radically impacting the future of Haiti by investing in the lives of an individual - an individual who has the God-given potential to be the leader their community so desperately needs!
Please consider becoming a sponsor today!
GUEST AUTHOR: Miles Dodge
Miles was very involved with Ncompass when we first started working in Haiti. He now contributes his time and talents to our Kidstarter program as a board member.
In my Air Force line of work, I address topics of illegal discrimination and sexual harassment, which to do effectively requires me to understand several different concepts including implicit bias, institutional racism and power & privilege to name just a few. While sitting in a training with ~100 Equal Opportunity specialists from across the Department of Defense regarding these topics, the lecturer read out the slide prompt “What is privilege?”. As I rolled my eyes, I thought to myself, “of course I know what it is” and instinctively felt guilty. However, as the lesson went on I realized my lack of understanding regarding this concept. How do you define it? Initially I recalled privilege in the sense of an advantage one is granted or earned such as the privilege to win an award for a successful performance (e.g. “it’s a privilege to be honored among so many amazing performers”), or access to borrow a vehicle while in high school for good grades as an example. These are all valid, but my paradigm shifted when I saw that privilege can be unearned as well. Like it or not, each person is born with some level of unearned privilege, or in other words advantage. As we finish out this 3-month quarter focused on education and Ncompass’s international focus on youth development (see previous post), let’s take a quick dive into where power & privilege is seen and how it connects to education.
As a white American male, you bet I have privilege (unearned since I was born a white male in America) in today’s modern society considering traditional societal norms, particularly considering the industries I have worked in (e.g. military, manufacturing, corporate business). This is where the instinctive guilt came from I mentioned earlier. Now am I ashamed to be a white American male? Absolutely not, and at the same time it is ignorant for me, or anyone with a high school level understanding of U.S. History to believe I was not born into advantageous circumstances. White American males however are not the only group with privilege because unearned privilege is seen in many different places. Being born into an influential family of a neighborhood anywhere in the world or being associated with a majority religious sect in a certain region (e.g. being raised in the Catholic minority in Myanmar during the Pope’s visit in Fall 2017 was a dangerous status to claim) can also be argued as providing unearned privilege. The question is not if privilege exists, but what can we do with it? Privilege in whatever form (earned, or unearned) gives an individual and/or group power. Power is simply a tool that can be used in a positive way, or negative way. Through a mixture of earned and unearned privilege I am in a position to exert some level of power, or influence on my surroundings and so are you! Investing in areas where there is a gap in educational opportunities and resources is a clear way of how we can choose to use our power & privilege in a positive way by supporting organizations like Ncompass.
Interaction Institute for Social Change
Ncompass focuses on promoting education in Haiti where individuals are often born into a cycle void of substantial privilege. To close the gap, Ncompass acts as one set of hands among many who are pushing to move the needle toward removing the lack of privilege as an unnecessary obstacle to a brighter future for Haiti and more specifically the community of Titanyen. Am I saying the educational landscape in America is perfect? I work in education and I can respond with a big “are you kidding me? of course it’s not perfect!”. However, it is important to pick your battles and aim at one target at a time. If this is a fight you want to join, great! If you feel called elsewhere, great; there are no shortage of good causes. Whatever you do, do not be lukewarm and sit on the sidelines. You have power & privilege, use it in a positive way!
Positive thought leads to positive action.
and its Transitions Program, services and opportunities to THRIVE!
We know this program will greatly impact the youth we work with in Haiti. But we sometimes forget just how the youth in Haiti have already impacted the youth in America!
Meet Max Ely. You might assume that Max is an ordinary high school senior. Eagerly awaiting graduation, and dreaming about how he can concur the world! But Max is anything but ordinary. He has recognized his privilege and place in the world is a blessing, and one that he eagerly wants to share with others.
Max came to Haiti with us last year when he was a junior in high school. "When I was preparing to go to Haiti, I didn't think it would impact my life as much as it did. But it opened my eyes to two main things, 1) a good education is essential and 2) without education kids could never achieve what we take for granted."
We often hear travelers say that they thought they were the ones who would be helping when they go to Haiti, but it always seems to turn out that Haitians are the ones helping. Helping us see the value of relationships. Helping us see that going slow and savoring moments are essential - and good. They help us see how big and real God is, in ways we often don't grasp living in the States.
The people of Haiti, their stories, their lives, their determination taught Max a lot! He knew he wanted to do something, to stay engaged and continue supporting these people who taught him so much. But he wasn't sure how.
Now 18, and a senior in high school, Max has found his calling and wants to become a pastor. At a recent conference at his church, he got a prophetic word that encouraged his generosity, and confirmed that God would be his provider - especially when Max is generous.
"With this I realized I needed to put practice into my prophecy and after finding out Jherry needed a few sponsors I decided to become one of them!!!
I am so glad I was able to make this decision and can't wait to learn more about Jherry and share in God's truth with him!"
Thank you Max for stepping out in faith, and standing with Jherry! We believe God will use you, and Jherry to do great things!
Sponsorship creates a space for students and adults alike, to have the ability to transform a child's life, while their own is being transformed through the process.
Jherry needs two more sponsors - will you join Max and sponsor Jherry?
Find more about sponsoring Jherry or one of the other children at the Maranatha House.
Camitha Jean Paul is one of the sweetest girls I’ve ever met. Her soul is tender and tenacious! She loves people and loves life!
I met her in 2011, when she was a brand-new six year old. It was apparent that Camitha’s little body was not like her peers. Her right hand and foot were turned in and both had very limited mobility. Yet, she didn’t let these disabilities hold her back. She and the other kids at the Maranatha House ran, and screamed, and sang at the top of their lungs with homemade soda bottle maracas we had made with rocks. I remember that first night, during evening prayers, holding her tiny body as she fell asleep - undoubtedly from all the running the kids did that afternoon. I knew that night that there was something very, very special about her. As we’ve gotten to know her over the past 6 years, we’ve learned she has cerebral palsy. Knowing that disabilities are often seen as curses in Haiti, we wanted to do what we could to prevent the stigma of a disability from holding her back any more than her lack of mobility would. We saw in her a fighter, and we wanted to empower that. Thankfully, we found a great occupational therapist in Port au Prince who has been working with her regularly, and has helped her find solutions that work for her to WIN at life.
Her therapist, along with members of our team in Haiti have played key roles in helping Camitha realize her potential and to not let her disability hold her back. And she's owning this! Talk about EMPOWERMENT!
When I first met Camitha, I remember worrying about how she would face the already-hard world ahead of her, not to mention having a stigma associated with her that would make it even more challenging to survive, let alone thrive.
But Camitha is a fighter! And she is sending that stigma packing!
Today, I know that she will not only survive but WIN and THRIVE at life. Camitha doesn’t let anything stop her! She knows what she wants, and she goes after!
that.” And she responded, “Don’t you worry, I will be able to figure it out!”
There is no doubt in my mind that she WILL figure out how to drive some day, and inspire so many people in the process. If Camitha can chase her dreams, so can you.
Camitha is in need of 3 more sponsors. Would you become one of her sponsors and cheer her on to reach her potential?
Ncompass is striving to become a leader in impacting and building up today’s youth for the Kingdom of God. We are committed to taking a bold, innovative and strategic business approach to inspire global action.