Spring Carnival at Chatham University!

Spring Carnival at Chatham University!

i Apr 15th No Comments by

Enjoy a day of springtime fun with the Chatham community on Saturday, April 19th from 11 am – 1 pm.

This wonderful tradition is open to the Chatham and Pittsburgh community. Bring guests and enjoy an afternoon with festive activities including carnival foods, balloon artists, egg hunt, face painters and live chicks and bunnies.

Raffle tickets will be on sale that directly benefit HFF.

Can’t make it to the event, but would still like to make a donation?

You can choose one of the amounts listed on our donations page, or you can name your own donation.

Time For Kanaval!

i Mar 6th No Comments by

An annual carnival celebration—leading up to Mardi Gras—is a big event in many places around the world.

Haiti is no exception!

Many schools across the country celebrated Haitian Kanaval last week with a day off school, and a big party complete with food, drink, music, dancing, and more dancing.

In Montrouis, Haiti, we were part of an exciting Kanaval story this year.

We learned from some of our students who attend school together that they would not be having a kanaval party this year. That they are one of many schools that cannot afford to throw a party each year.

You see, in order to hold a kanaval party, school administration ask each parent to contribute a small amount to the cost of the party, and to ensure that their child has a kanaval style outfit/costume to wear to the party.

As a school that serves extremely low income families, this administration knows that it is not realistic to ask families to contribute to the party costs.

For $80, HFF was able to cover costs for a drink and small snack for each student at the school—512 kids total—and supplies for each student to decorate a kanaval mask!

The students and parents pitched in to plan what music would be played, who would perform, and to choreograph a group dance.

Everyone agreed that the suggested attire would be anything at all, removing the pressure for the students to dress up in a kanaval costume, which can be expensive.

The outcome was amazing and many of the students said it was the best party they have ever been a part of.

We received a letter from the school director this week thanking us for the contribution, which made it possible to give these kids a special day that they all deserved so much.

It was the first year since the earthquake in 2010 that this school was able to celebrate kanaval.

While it is true that most of our days are filled with desperate parents, scary sicknesses, and frustrating situations, sometimes we are able to bring remarkable happiness to the children we love.

This brings us the joy and encouragement to continue our work every day.

We have the incredible opportunity to continue to bring happiness and joy to the families we serve because you support us.

We can not do this without you.

Thank you.

2013 Report

i Feb 20th No Comments by

The children of Haitian Families First

We are grateful for the opportunity to thank you for helping us make 2013 a special year for Haitian Families First!

We are humbled and encouraged by the support that each and every one of you provide as we work toward our vision to end institutionalization in Haiti.

In 2013 we directly impacted the lives of over 100 children through one or more of our three core programs: Nutrition, Education, and Health & Wellness. 60 of those children are enrolled in school, some of them for the very first time.

Of the 92 children enrolled in HFF programming in December—all of whom were at high risk of being sent to large privatized institutions—we were able to ensure that 76% remain securely in their home with one or both of their biological parents! An additional 23% are living with extended family.

Our hard work is paying off.

However, Haiti remains a dangerous place for the family unit. With 30,000 children and teens living in deplorable conditions in large privatized institutions known as orphanages, we must continue to raise awareness and seek support.

The Haitian government, with help from USAID and UNICEF, estimates that more than 24,000 of these 30,000 children have at least one living parent. Yet children are institutionalized every day not because their parents want to give them up, but because they feel there is no other option.

By providing options to parents and relatives willing to parent their children, we are keeping the number from growing.

As we move forward this year, our primary goal remains to keep families together and help them thrive.

We work with families to help them through a crisis situation and to reach a point of self-sustainability. This can be a long process, but we are committed to each individual who is part of our HFF family. Our message is spreading in the seven communities we serve.

Families currently enrolled in HFF programs are living examples and beacons of hope to their struggling neighbors. When families remain together, there is a ripple effect of potential that seems attainable – causing an ever-growing list of families interested in receiving the services provided by HFF.

We sincerely thank you for your support. Please continue to raise awareness for our cause in your community.

With your voice we can speak louder on behalf of the children who cannot speak for themselves.

From Our Families

I had my baby when I was 18. Jamie helped me with him since he was 2 and a half months. I’m so happy I’m here with the baby, he now is 2 years old. I am in the program now too, I attend school, I love school. I thought when I had the baby that I would never have the chance to go to school. Thanks to HFF I am back in school in my seventh year.

- Lovelie, mom to Stevenski

I love my mom! If I didn’t live with my mom I would live in a house where I have to cook and clean. And they don’t eat rice or fruit, only bread.

- Kervens, right, pictured with sister Gloria