myLIFEspeaks has chosen to be involved in Haiti…yes, INVOLVED. myLIFEspeaks is involved in the village of Neply in Leogane, where the myLIFEspeaks campus is. Why? myLIFEspeaks is about being a part of the local community–in the US and in Haiti. While the main focus of myLIFEspeaks in Haiti is orphan care and providing a FAMILY for special needs and typical orphans, myLIFEspeaks also realizes the importance of being a part of the local community.
Pregnant Mother Care (2013)
myLIFEspeaks has committed to help pregnant mothers in the village of Neply, Haiti. We do this by providing prenatal educational classes. During these classes we are fortunate to have Carmella (a Haitian nurse) spend time teaching the future mothers the importance of taking care of their bodies while they are pregnant. Carmella covers topics such as hygeine, nutrition, and the importance of staying hydrated. We have realized one important piece of the puzzle by working with pregnant mothers…when we work with pregnant mothers and help them take care of themselves and their unborn babies, we see healthier children. As we work to give each child in Neply an equal chance at living a full LIFE, we know healthy pregnant women (with prenatal care) lead to healthy babies. This program leads to our Infant Feeding Program…
Infant Feeding Program (2012)
We help mothers who have infants (0-36 months) by offering the Infant Feeding Program. This program attempts to educate mothers on the necessity of taking care of themselves so they can continue to feed their infants. We utilize Carmella, our Haitian nurse, to help mothers learn things like positioning, cleaning, burping, and other feeding tips. The biggest obstacle for most mothers is keeping their breast milk supply because of their own malnutrition and dehydration. myLIFEspeaks uses sponsorships and donations of infant formula to give mothers the much needed nutritional supplement of infant formula for their infants. If we can get children the proper nutrition before they turn 3 years old, we help them with much needed brain development.
FEEDING PROGRAM (2012)
The Feeding Program was the first community program myLIFEspeaks was a part of. It began with the dream of Leslie Watson, our Community Involvement Director in Haiti. She started on the front porch of the house where she was staying by feeding 22 children beans and rice and vegetable sauce she had purchased with her own money. Today the Feeding Program is one of the biggest programs we have with over 100 children receiving 3 to 4 portions of food. Many of these children depend on these meals because it is the only food they receive that day. myLIFEspeaks currently offers sponsorships for each of these children, which allows these children to get fed. We are working to assure this sponsorship also allows each child to receive medical care, school supplies, and more. Sponsorships are $20/month.
Redemption 72:14 (2013)
Here in Haiti, and Neply in particular, we see children facing oppression and circumstances that are, let’s just say, less than ideal. myLIFEspeaks believes that God has called us here to SPEAK UP for these children. This is where the idea for Redemption 72:14 was born. To SPEAK UP for children that are enslaved and others who are faced with difficult situations. Redemption 72:14 is a project that reaches out to 30+ children, welcoming them to the myLIFEspeaks campus every Tuesday and Thursday for two hours. When they arrive, they are immediately greeted with loving arms and a warm meal. After they finish eating, they are then tutored by a group of amazing volunteers from the village who simply want to help. After 45 minutes of tutoring, they then get to have fun and be KIDS and play games. We close with a time of devotional and prayer, where we show them, using God’s Word, how precious they are and how much they are loved. We are blessed to see God at work in the lives of these children, writing a beautiful story of redemption! (written by Matt Prichard, Director of Discipleship)
Special Education Classes (2012)
One thing we know about LIFE in Neply is that it is NOT easy. It’s not easy for men, women, or children. LIFE is difficult at best. We also found out that through what we would consider the most difficult of circumstances, we see people loving each other and trying their best to help others. Having a child with special needs in Haiti makes that difficult LIFE even more difficult. The culture in Haiti tells parents of special needs children, your child has no worth. This mentality often forces parents to either hide their children with special needs or in many cases, abandon them. myLIFEspeaks works to make sure each child with special needs in Neply has a fair chance. We do this through our Special Education Classes that are held on our campus. Each day children with special needs put on their uniforms (because having a uniform is a sign of hope and opportunity and the uniforms show that children are going to school) and come to class. These classes are taught by our Haitian teachers and assistants. This program was started by our first Special Education Intern, Izzy Glinski, and we are forever thankful.
Therapy Program (2012)
Our Therapy Program works very much like our Special Education Classes. The Therapy Program was created to help children in Neply who are living with special needs. The Therapy Program works to provide stretches and exercises that are helpful for the children living with difficulties. The program was started by our first Therapy Intern, Elizabeth Ingram, and will continue after she completes her internship. Elizabeth has worked to train Haitians to work with the children, providing them a basic understanding of exercises that can be done on a regular basis, enabling the Therapy Program to continue in between visits from physical and occupational therapists. Because of this Therapy Program we have seen children with special needs in Neply have the opportunity to experience LIFE. We know this program is a cornerstone for our work to help children in Neply.
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