As the Devoted to Children Foundation celebrates 5 years of successful operation this summer, we are happy to announce a new phase and direction for D2Cʼs next 5 years.
The first 5 years were mainly focused on opening our D2C Family Home and taking in our 8 special children, who had either been orphaned, abandoned, or enslaved. The goal was to not only create a safe haven for these children but also to establish a rapport with the local community, laying the framework to eventually contribute in other ways.
We are happy to announce that our kids are thriving and our focus of becoming a small family unit has been a dream come true. We could not have done this without our dedicated Haitian staff, who each individually plays an important and dynamic role in our kidsʼ lives.
It has not always been an easy road, as one can imagine creating change in a third world country. However, the success of D2Cʼs mission has not only changed the lives of our 8 children for the better, but is also impacting the lives of other children in the community at large. It became evident early on to our founder, Kristin OʼConnell, that bringing more children into our home would not be the best use of hard-raised funds, but in addition, was contributing to the corrupt orphanage crisis in Haiti. After countless parents showed up at our door offering their own children up to our “orphanage,” we decided to limit the number of children, and change our title from an orphanage to the “D2C Family Home.”
D2C is dedicated to giving these 8 children the best opportunities possible and investing in their futures, which will hopefully include ‘paying it forwardʼ and giving back to their own community and country. D2C decided to nurture and empower future leaders, rather than meet the basic needs of more children with limited resources. The intention was to create a family rather than an institution, and by keeping the amount of children small we were able to do exactly that.
In addition, the D2C Family Home keeps an open bed available for both a boy and a girl, to host children on a temporary basis as needed through Haitian Social Services. We are proud to say the ‘proof is in the puddingʼ as seen in the positive development of our 8 amazing little souls, plus we have also created an extensive community network and have earned the communityʼs respect as a successful organization.
So the next 5 years leads us in a new direction, focusing on the second pillar of D2Cʼs mission which is community sustainability. It is D2Cʼs belief that the money it would cost to raise just one more child in our home, could be used more effectively to impact the lives of hundreds of kids in the local community through various projects and initiatives. D2Cʼs vision is to offer support to many more children which would directly affect their families and thus influence these families to stay together rather than resort to desperate measures such as giving their kids up to orphanages.
D2C has already experienced this firsthand through the D2C Afterschool Program which offers small group tutoring to kids struggling in school. Due to a lack of funds last year, D2C had to suspend this program and families have been begging for it to start again.
D2C is excited to re-launch this program this upcoming school year and hopefully increase the student body as well as hire more tutors, offering extra income to local educators. The success of this D2C Afterschool Program was widely appreciated by local parents who expressed their support at parent/teacher meetings. We look forward to the continuation of this program helping many students succeed in school and pass to the next grade level.
D2C will also be hosting the second annual Summer Camp next year in collaboration with local Lekol SOS. With such a long summer break and no current options for kids, our D2C Summer Camp offers an opportunity for kids to engage in the arts, music and various activities like yoga. It is D2Cʼs intention to expand this camp to eventually offer consecutive week long programs and serve hundreds of needy kids.
Finally, the long term goal for D2C is to save a struggling school that is in dire need of funding and refurbishing, thus establishing a solid and free education path for the most vulnerable children in the area. This long-term vision includes various stages of improvement and will seek support through various avenues such as grants and corporate sponsorship. D2C hopes to develop this school to provide the best English language training so that the students can be prepared to take advantage of the service opportunities in the growing tourist industry.
The future is bright for D2C, and we would like to thank all the generous donors who have contributed to our mission thus far! It truly takes a village and the D2C extended family has grown and flourished over these past 5 years and we are truly grateful for each and every person who helps us shine.
We look forward to creating new revenue streams and fundraising to expand our reach in Haiti, so stay tuned for exciting events and opportunities to join D2C in making a difference in Haiti!