From their regular classes to cooking classes (including making pate- Haitian empanadas) to celebrating the Day of Dessalines (Founders Day), participating in “All for Diversity Day” and beginning an educational recreational program, our students are doing wonderfully. Thank you for all of your support!!
This spring, Enabling Minds’ students are completing their fifth year of classes! What began as three students in the spring of 2013 has blossomed to over 75 students covering two special education classes, integrated general education classrooms, and two different schools! We are immensely grateful to Sister Gloria and the Scalabrini mission in Haiti, all of the staff and volunteers that visit and live in Haiti to ensure that these children have access to a quality education, nutrition, therapy, medical and dental services, sports, and recreational activities. We are also thankful to all of our donors who have helped to fund our program, we also could not have done this without you!! A final thank you to Zainab Mirza and her classmates at American University in Washington D.C. for sharing these photos from their trip to visit our students last month, and for helping us fully sponsor our last few students for the school year!!
On January 22, 2018 founding member Sabrina Guillaume tragically passed away at the age of 39. Our work would have never happened were it not for Sabrina, and she was immensely proud of the lives our organization touched. She was an amazing wife, mother, daughter, sister, board member, computer scientist, artist, friend, and all around master of many trades.
Sabrina was Enabling Minds’ tech guru, our djon djon rice master chef at our fundraisers, and our voice of reason. Both Enabling Minds and the world is a happier, stronger, and more decent place because of Sabrina, and we will never forget her. We greatly mourn her loss and celebrate Sabrina’s remarkable life, legacy, and the memories we shared.
“Music centers me, love grounds me, life pushes me, and family lifts me.” – Sabrina E. Guillaume
When asked to take a picture, Boniface and her friends light up at the thought of their moment to shine for the camera. Immediately after taking the photograph, they jump up to the camera to see if we got their good angles. With these smiling faces, every angle is a good one! Boniface is one of the sweetest little girls you’ll ever meet and has been with the @EnablingMinds classroom project for 3 years now!
She is shy but is quick to light up any room with her infectious smile.
The students are engaging in creative play as part of a new curriculum for the @EnablingMinds students. The curriculum is ever changing to address the needs of all learners and clearly our students are enjoying it!
It’s Fatima here from @EnablingMinds board of directors with some “growing” changes to our classroom in Haiti! As part of a new curriculum, in 2016-2017 our students began learning about agriculture and ways to sustain our environment by planting seeds of hope and love to blossom, with their big brothers and sisters at the St. Charles Borromeo school campus.
The Haitian economy is dependent on subsistence agriculture as a means of survival. However, growing rural pressures, natural calamities and adverse climate change are great barriers to sustainable agriculture. It brings us great joy to know that our students are taking initiatives to help and contribute to their environment in their own unique and inspiring way!
These tiny plants bring them so much happiness and give them a sense of responsibility and hope amongst an uncertain future and environment!
Our chairperson Tarik S. Khan, CRNP, was profiled in the “Life is Good” Heroes section!
Check it the story here: http://content.lifeisgood.com/generous-kind-gentle-soul/
My son Tarik Khan is the most generous, kind, and gentle soul. He is a nurse practitioner who volunteered several times in Haiti in medical clinics. There, he discovered no school programs for children with disabilities. He organized other volunteers to raise money and support an existing school by hiring a staff to create programs for children with disabilities. This is a 501(c)(3) organization. Every penny goes to the children for teachers salaries, books, therapists and 2 meals a day since the children initially were all undernourished. Learn more about Enabling Minds. Thank you. – Patricia K.
Enabling Minds is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt non-profit whose mission is to improve the lives of persons with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in underserved regions throughout the world by promoting acceptance and inclusion. We began with a group of friends who share a common interest in helping less fortunate people around the world. Some of the friends in our group were involved in providing on-the-ground medical assistance to those affected by the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and had developed an affinity for the people and the culture of Haiti.
Our spring fundraiser was held on Saturday May 14th at the home of our friend Gloria del Piano in Germantown, Philadelphia. We raised enough funds to support the full education and board of ten students with developmental disabilities for an entire year of classes!
Our event featured delicious homemade and restaurant prepared foods, appetizers, drinks, and even Enabling Minds cupcakes!
Included in our silent auction items was an autographed copy of “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” tickets to sports, museum, and entertainment events, handmade crafts from Haiti, and a Vera Bradley Gift set.
We honored two individuals, Rana Baig and Patricia Khan! Rana and Pat’s efforts over the past several years helped Enabling Minds fund the education for 40+ students! Thank you Rana and Pat!!
Thank you all of the friends who helped make the evening a success including Gloria Del Piano, Marco Barbesta, Tracy Hagan, Fatima Baig, Arjun Pradeep, Azar Nafizi, and Ubah Ali. And thank you to the businesses who donated items for our silent auction: Late Show with Stephen Colbert tickets, Arnold’s Family Fun Center, Philadelphia Art Museum, Nancy Morozin at The Dining Car, The Philadelphia 76ers, AMC Theaters, Mackenzie Hilton at Time Restaurant, Dave and Busters on Columbus Boulevard, Trenton Thunder, National Constitution Center, Sesame Place, Philadelphia Flyers, funphillytours.com, Shriner’s Taffy, Johnson’s Popcorn, Penns Woods Winery, Brazilian Wax and Spa by Claudia of Manayunk, Requisite Fitness of East Falls, Longwood Gardens, Vera Bradley, Chaddsford Winery, and Farha Ali Photography!
Thank you to everyone who supported us this evening to make our 2016 Spring Fundraiser a HUGE success!
This month one of the teachers at the St. Charles Borromeo School was featured in a 2-minute video about her experiences in Haiti. Chloe Dirou is a teacher who is volunteering her year to teach French to the students at the St. Charles Borromeo School. Chloe has done a lot to support our students, and the second-half of this beautifully shot video features our students with their big brothers and big sisters and at the beach, where they spent one day this winter. Click here to see the video!
On the first Saturday of March 2016, many of Enabling Minds’ students joined in the Medical Missions of Haiti’s 5th Annual Clinic Community Run. Social stigmas are one of the major challenges faced by persons in Haiti with developmental disabilities, and these beliefs unfortunately end up keeping these individuals hidden by their families and ignored by society. There are also perceptions that these individuals are incapable of achieving anything, and as a result they are excluded from schools, the workforce, and events in the community.
On this bright sunny Saturday morning, our students lined up with their big brothers and big sisters and the rest of the community in anticipation for the start of the race. Many of our students had been looking forward to this event for weeks, and were eager to participate in the run with their adopted big siblings!
They didn’t know many of the other people at the race, and many in the community had never seen a person with a wheelchair or with any disability joining in a race. But together they stood, with their running shoes and registration bibs tied, lined up and set for the race that lie ahead.
Erin Cottos, physical therapist, and long-time volunteer organizer of the Clinic Community Run observed, “We had over 200 participants in multiple races.”
“It brought my heart joy to see the smiles on these faces as they ran/walked through the streets,” Erin added.
Our students ran valiantly through the grassy plain of the start, through the dusty streets, and back around through the farmland on the seminary grounds.
Their big buddies ran hand-in-hand with them, so that they could accomplish their goal of completing the race with each other.
They crossed the finish line together, many with broad smiles and laughter.
Some were still breathless as they received their certificates, and they joined their fellow residents of the city of Croix-des-Bouquets as they basked in the glow of achievement.
Thank you to Erin Cottos, Dr. Dorsaint, Sister Gloria, Medical Missions of Haiti, our donors, and everyone who made these moments possible for our students!
How You Can Help
Enabling Minds’ students with developmental disabilities at St. Charles Borromeo School are completely funded through donations. A donation of $25 will sponsor a student’s education for one month (including dance and Special Olympics activities, school breakfast and lunch), and $300 will sponsor a student in school for the entire year. We still have a few students who need to be funded so they can complete the school year! All donations are 100% tax deductible and any amount is greatly appreciated. Help us give the gift of an education to a student in need!
Kindly visit: www.enablingminds.com/
Enabling Minds Tax ID: 46-5226427
Do you remember your first time seeing the ocean? For many of our students, their first time experiencing the ocean was in late February 2016 when Enabling Minds took a field trip to the beach!
Erin Cottos, a physical therapist Haiti Medical Missions of Memphis and volunteer on the trip noted, “It was priceless to watch their faces as many saw the beach for the first time.”
Back in 2014, Enabling Minds students visited the magnificent pool at the Kaliko Beach Club near Haiti’s western shore. As an added benefit to our students, Sister Gloria Ines Ramirez, the school superintendent and administrator of our program, tries to arrange at least one major field trip for our students each year.
Erin, who also works with many our students in her role as a physical therapist, added “There was lots of smiles, laughter and pure joy on the faces of everyone as we enjoyed this time together.”