The Adat Shalom Haiti Committee sponsored an hour long update on the project after shabbat services on June 27th. The highlight of the call was an interview that Pam Sommers did with Pastor Johnny Felix, the founder and principal of the NICL School that Adat Shalom has been supporting in Leogane, Haiti since 2011. Pastor Johnny also participated in our shabbat services and asked if he could attend more regularly. Of course, we said, “yes”. In response to a question about how he has been able to overcome the considerable odds of building an elementary school from scratch in a country facing political unrest and perpetual poverty, Pastor Johnny said: “I feel like God has chosen me for this task. It is why I was put on earth. I love children. If God believes that I can do it, I can.”
Rabbi Sid opened the program with a quick update on the Haiti Project.
* About 75 Adat Shalom members have participated in one (or more) of our 8-day service missions to Haiti. Every Mission has had a healthy mix of
adults and young people, 14 and up. We have postponed the plans for a 2020 Mission until December 2021. People interested should be in touch with Pam Sommers.
* We have consistently had between 60-75 Haiti Partners each year, giving $100 each year to the project. Our goal is to push that up to 100 Adat Shalom households. You can use the link here to make your commitment.
* Even as Pastor Johnny has increased enrollment, most recently adding a 7th grade to the K-6 student body, he has asked for a smaller grant the
last few years due to generating more tuition revenue. We recently sent the NICL $2,920 for the 2019-20 school year. That is down from about $8,000 per year we were sending 5-7 years ago. The smaller grant allowed us to send an additional $2,700 to Pastor Johnny so that he could send a sizable food basket to every household in the NICL community. Many of the families are food insecure. You can underwrite food baskets ($18 each) here.
About 100 household participated in the call with Pastor Johnny. At the end of the call, Haiti Committee Co-Chairs, Marta Beresin and Greg Schofer, conducted a poll of all those on the call. One significant piece of feedback was that an overwhelming majority of respondents to the poll indicated that the Haiti Project was an excellent way for Adat Shalom to advance the Jewish values that have long informed our sacred community.