Today we welcome a special guest, Pere Phanord, the rector of Bon Samaritan Episcopal Church and School, our partner congregation in Bondeau, Haiti. Our partnership with Pere Phanord and the people of Bondeau began nine years ago through our participation in the South Florida Haiti Project (SFHP), a collaborative outreach effort of several Episcopal congregations in the Diocese of Southeast Florida and elsewhere. On Saturday, Pere Phanord joined hundreds of people at a food packing event at St. Mark’s Palm Beach Gardens. The food packed yesterday will feed hungry children and families in Haiti.
This year, as a parish, we have given $6,000 to the SFHP. Our financial support goes to pay teacher salaries. It’s making a tremendous impact. Recently, the 9th Graders at Bon Samaritan School took a national exam, designed to identify students who will qualify for higher studies. The results were a huge success. 23 out of the 24 Bon Samaritan 9th Graders who took the exam passed! The Ministry of Education in Haiti contacted the leadership of Bon Samaritan School and asked what they were doing to achieve such a high level of success.
Much of the credit goes to several SFHP-funded initiatives. One is a teacher training program, “Teaching by Heart for Haiti.” Under the leadership of Dr. Diane Allerdyce, the teachers at Bon Samaritan are being trained in a curriculum that emphasizes the development of critical thinking skills, as opposed to the more traditional method of rote memorization and repetition. Another initiative is employing a full-time school nurse to raise the overall level of health and wellness of the children. Medical missions, like the one Janet Thompson served last month plan to bring sustainable health care. Still another initiave is a school feeding program that provides critically needed nutrition. With the support of the SFHP, Bon Samaritan has grown from a K-8 school to one that now goes all the way up to the 12th Grade. We are excited about a new adult education initiative that will provide “GED-type” instruction to adults in the community who did not have the benefit of attending school or completing their formal education.
What a blessing to be a part of such a life-giving ministry that connects us with our brothers and sisters in Haiti!