If you followed us over the past year, and subscribed to our new blog feed, you have been added to Santa's Good List! (Wouldn't that be nice?) But really, you may have noticed some things posted recently that you've seen in the past. I have been backdating some of our 2009 work for those who haven't seen it yet. That's why, even though we just launched this blog on New Year's 2010, there are archives for months in 2009. I think that my backdating is done for now, but I may add more as I have time.
Otherwise, we're getting settled into this new space and will post more new things soon. One thing I'd like to do is a "get to know Dan and Vicki" feature. If you have any burning questions about us—individually or combined—leave them in the comments. I think it'll be fun. Ready...GO!
If you are like me, you want to be cautious when donating to a cause, especially one that is so well known. Because of this, I want to tell as many people as I can about the Jean R. Cadet Restavek Foundation. I can only vouch from a third person perspective, but I'd like to share a good friend's testimonial about this organization. She will include donation information at the end of her message.
I don’t typically send e-mails with such a broad harvest of my address book, but this is something I feel very passionately about.
You are more than likely aware of the current shocking events occurring in Haiti. However, you may, or may not be aware of my tie to the Jean R. Cadet Restavek Foundation. I have been involved with the Restavek Foundation for a few years volunteering help with efforts here in Cincinnati, as well as making a trip to Haiti in August, 2008, along with my sister-in-law Sue and my niece Katie. Katie returned in February, 2009. The foundation has been working with children in and just outside of Port au Prince, Haiti for the last few years. The foundation was founded by Jean Robert Cadet, a former slave in Haiti, to help children in restavek (slave) conditions to attend school, and overall improve their quality of life. In fact, the organization’s founders and leaders, Raymond and Joan Conn, have been in Haiti since just before the earthquake struck. Jean Robert rushed there to assist with rescue and relief. While fortunately all are safe, they have been communicating via email, describing how gruesome and desperate a scene it really is. The recent turn of events have created both fear and heartache for many, including those trying to make a difference in this impoverished country. However, while much is grim, those same people are only further inspired to do more. Here is the most recent piece of communication we received from Joan Conn which depicts some of the efforts that have already begun as well as some of the fears:
“We are glad to report that we have found 6 of our staff members. As of yet, we have not located any of the children. We had a container that we have been trying to get into Haiti for months with much stress and complications, it actually arrived to the compound where our office is located the morning the quake hit. We have over 70,000 meals in the container, which was possible through the Go Cincinnati project last May which they will distribute. We know that the Nazarene compound where our office is located is standing and in good condition. This is where we are going to set up camp. Fuel is becoming a HUGE problem. The generators will not function which means loss of communication completely.”
I travelled with Joan and Jean Robert a year ago to interview children and enroll them in the foundation’s child sponsorship program. This trip was one of the most heart-breaking yet rewarding things I have ever participated in. One of my closest friends is adopting a little girl from the sponsorship program, and I was lucky enough to share a hotel room the week of my trip with my friend Kelley and her daughter Valerie. The hotel where we stayed (and Joan and Ray kept an apartment) is decimated, and approximately 200 people were killed in its collapse. Due to the extended adoption process, Valerie is still in Haiti, but I am very pleased to share that Joan and Ray located Valerie on Friday and she is safely with them. But many more of the children in their program remain to be found, and once found provisions for their care will need to be made. While there are many adults and children in need of help, I am particularly concerned for these kids who are at the bottom of almost any priority list that may exist besides this foundation’s. The conditions they lived in prior to this tragedy were beyond words, I cannot even bear to fathom their situation now.
I have spoken with some of you who have asked, “If there is anything I can do, please let me know.” Some of you have spoken about your own plans to give and do what you can. There are many organizations through which you can give to this tragedy. If giving money is something you are planning on doing, I would like to encourage you to give to an organization with which you can trust and believe that your full contribution is going to those in need. I can personally vouch for the Jean R. Cadet Restavek Foundation and can assure anyone that their donation will completely and directly go to those in need. The foundation is a grassroots and hands-on type of organization that is run by a group of people who have proven success in operating at maximum efficiency, with minimal waste. Please check out the foundation’s website at www.restavekfreedom.org. In case you are interested, here are some of the ways in which you can give:
By check via mail
Jean R. Cadet Restavek Foundation
11160 Kenwood Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45242
By credit card via phone (this eliminates some processing charges)
(513) 530-9844 or (513) 475-3710
By Credit Card via the internet
Go to the donor page. You specify under “other” that you would like your donation to go to relief efforts.
Please feel free to pass this on to your family and friends who are interested in donating to relief in Haiti. Again, I can assure you that your gift will be used to the max if you were to choose to give through this organization. I am happy to share more details or answer questions you may have. Thanks for caring in whatever way you may choose to respond.