In January 2010, HEART 9/11 team members responded to the outcry of suffering from the people of Haiti as a result of the devastating earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands. The need was so great that HEART 9/11 responded on sixteen missions to rebuild critical institutions such as clinics, schools, a firehouse, a pharmacy and nearly one hundred homes. Our work was especially rewarding because we recruited and taught the young men and women of Haiti the simple construction skills that allowed them to address their communities rebuilding needs. Our model has been sustainable as our “apprentices” formed small cohorts to multiply their effectiveness; some are attending college in the Dominican Republic.
So, when we heard that some of our apprentices’ homes were destroyed by Hurricane Matthew, we formed a team of masons fromLaborers Local 79 – New York Citymembers and responded. Once again, working side by side with our Haitian students we are making a difference in their lives. It is so rewarding to witness our Haitian friends’ growth. They were so thankful.
It still amazes me that from the 9/11 experiences and hard learned lessons, we are still paying it forward to those in need, even in places as far away as Haiti and with people who we share so little except our humanity and our compassion.