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.”
Last month, Enabling Minds’ students with disabilities and their big brothers/big sisters joined together one morning to enjoy the Haitian holiday of Carnaval! To begin the day, the children and their big siblings watched the inspirational French film “All Our Strength.” This movie, based on a true story, tells the story of a child named Julian who uses a wheelchair for ambulation. Julian challenges his father to compete with him in the grueling Ironman Triathlon in Nice, France. In the film, the entire family rallies around the father and son so that they can achieve this incredibly challenging feat.
The students and their big siblings enjoyed “All Our Strength.” We showed this film to teach the students and their big brothers and sisters the unlimited possibilities of persons with disabilities, and that great potential can result when they work together. This movie was primer for this weekend, the first weekend of March 2016, when the children and their big siblings will join hand in hand to complete in a race in the community!
After the film, clad in fancy masks and white dress, the students with disabilities and their big brothers/sisters participated in Carnaval! The school-wide Carnaval celebration consisted of dances, songs and music by the students in the schoolyard, and was presented for their families, who looked on with pride.
By the smiles on the children’s faces, it was clear that the students were delighted to share the day with their big brothers/big sisters and their families. It was beautiful to see moments of collaboration and unity after the Carnaval program that day, and to see the growing between Enabling Minds’ students and their big brothers and sisters!
How You Can Help. . .
Enabling Minds’ students at St. Charles Borromeo School are completely funded through donations. A donation of $25 will sponsor a student’s education for one month, and $300 will sponsor the education of a student for the entire year. We still have 16 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/donate
Enabling Minds Tax ID: 46-5226427