Dear Friends and Family,
So much has happened in the last couple months that I need to update you so we can move forward in this journey together!
I want to start by letting you know that due to some exciting events recently, I have named September “Partnership of Support” month, so that there will be no delay in the work of Kelby’s Kids in Haiti. Let me explain!
After my last trip in May, I had looked at partnering with a large organization just outside of Port-Au-Prince. After starting the hiring process, it became obvious that I needed to stick to my original plan to be an independent ministry, to be the most effective in the work to which I feel called, the children of Haiti. I again went in search of the best place where I can best use my skills …
This summer was a busy one. I was able to spend almost 700 hours at kids’ camps, serving the needs of the kids who come for hopefully one of the best weeks of their summer. During this time I was also able to continue moving forward with the legal requirements for Kelby’s Kids, Inc.
I am very pleased to announce that Kelby’s Kids has been granted 501 (c) 3 status by the IRS! That means that I am now the President of Kelby’s Kids, a tax-exempt, non-profit, charitable corporation! It’s kind of scary when I think about it! But, I know that God is faithful and will go before me in this journey.
It’s not as big as it sounds at this point, but my hope is that some day we can be doing great things for the kids in Haiti. Right now it’s still just me using the skills that God has given me to serve others, like I have been doing for years, but now I am dependent on your partnership for it to continue.
In the last several weeks I have been drawn back “Home.” I have contacted the director of Christian Light School (CLS) who has been a long-time friend and place to visit or stay on many of my trips to Haiti. It’s the neighborhood I stayed in on my first trip and 9 out of my 11 trips to Haiti. It will be where I stay on my 12th trip and will be working for the start of Kelby’s Kids in Haiti.
In partnership with Christian Light School I will be serving the 260+ students at the school, providing for their medical needs. In addition, CLS has a restavek program. Restaveks are child slaves in Haiti. CLS has convinced the owners of these restaveks to allow the children to come to school a couple hours in the afternoon. These children have no medical care provided by their owners. I will also be working with the children from their Little Angels feeding program for 3 and 4 year olds from the community at the school.
In addition I will be going into the Ravine with the baby feeding program. Every day the workers go out into the ravine and feed all the babies and provide them with vitamins. I will go out with them several times a week to address medical needs for the most vulnerable in this community. There are also satellite schools that CLS works with, and I can serve them occasionally as well.
So from the start I will have over 500 kids who receive 98% of their medical care from me. Once I get all the untreated and chronic medical issues under control, I will look to branch out in the area and find other ministries to partner with.
Due to recent events in Haiti, medical care in this area is very difficult to come by. The interim president has stopped paying the doctors of the public hospitals, which caused them to go on strike, closing all public hospitals in Haiti. This leaves only the private and charitable organizations to care for all of the medical needs in Haiti.
Needless to say they are all very overwhelmed. The clinic in this neighborhood that I worked with a couple trips ago closed when Dr Ed’s health was failing. This is the one where I was able to do some dental work and actually pulled some teeth. CLS had a small clinic, but had to close it sometime ago due to a lack of medical staff to operate it.
So with very limited income in this area, medical care is all but a dream. I am excited to be able provide hope to these kids by providing as much medical care as possible to the kids of this community!
In preparation for the privilege to serve these kids, I will be making a trip to Haiti on September 21st until the 29th. I will be finalizing details of my work with CLS, getting the small clinic on the campus ready to open again after several years, making a list of equipment, supplies, and medications that I will need, and finalizing the place I will soon call home! If everything comes together as planned, I will be looking at a move date around the end of October or first part of November….
There is one remaining detail.
People have been very supportive thus far in this process, and for that I am truly grateful. I have had some fund raisers and many donations. I have been able to cover all the costs for the process of becoming a non-profit. I have some start up funds and maybe a little extra for a special project with a particularly sick child.
But, at this point, I have almost no foreseeable sustainability (sufficient monthly support). In a few short months the money will be gone and I will be out on the street, and the kids will be left with no medical care again. I need to know that I can continue this work indefinitely with your partnership; together we can serve many children!
Many people assume that with my retirement comes a pension. But this is not true. It will be a decade before I will be able to draw anything from my pension. So when I retire it will be with zero income.
I am confident that others believe in this calling I have to serve the children of Haiti. So the challenge for September is the Partnership of Support. I need to raise monthly support from people willing to look at long term partnership. I need a minimum of $1,500 a month before I will be able to leave for Haiti long term. This will cover housing, food, transportation, and other monthly or utility type bills. I figure I will probably need an operating budget of around $2,500 a month for long term operations.
This will be for basic care. It will not provide an excessive amount of supplies, medications, and equipment. Any additional or extra money will go toward increasing the effectiveness of the medical care for the kids. As support continues to increase, I will be able to cover things like ER visits, blood work, X-rays, and possible hospitalization if needed. I currently only have $110 in monthly support pledged. That means that I need an additional $1,390 in monthly pledges before I will be able to make the move to full time work.
Please seriously consider partnering with me in providing much needed health care to kids in Haiti.
Statistically one in five kids in Haiti will die before the age of 5. I know there are a lot of places where you can spend your hard-earned money, but I hope that you will consider being a part of changing and saving the lives of these kids. I can’t do it alone, but TOGETHER we can make a difference and bring Hope through good health!
Until No Child Dies,