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Monday, February 21, 2011

To Give or Not to Give: Question Answered

It is 1:46 on Monday morning. I am struggling to write an important section for my Vanderbilt Capstone Project. Oh yea, the rough draft is due today, Monday. If you truly know me, you know about my habits (life) of procrastination. But, interestingly enough, sitting here at 1:46 (now 1:47) in the morning has its advantages. In fact, just now, I learned a very important Bible verse that is going to help shape my daily interactions with people in Haiti. The question I have been asking myself for the past 2 years is, “What should my response be when children, the elderly, mothers with babies, the handicapped, come knocking on my car window as I drive down the streets, begging for food, for money, for hope?” What should my response be? What is my response SUPPOSED to be, especially as a Christian? If you come and visit Haiti, the child beggar, the mother beggar, the handicapped beggar, is a never-ending procession. It is sad. It is distressing. It is abject poverty.

I logged on tonight, for the first time in many years, to a website called, a site that has a daily prayer. I used to go to this site every day, especially when I was first called to lead a life serving the Lord. Of course, you will notice the pattern here. I am a procrastinator. I went to a site that I hadn’t been to in 2 years when I was supposed to be writing this paper, you get the idea. As I am reading the prayer, the verse of the day comes to the screen: Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 42. “Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.”  A long sought after answer to my question. Of course, one may interpret giving as providing a prayer, a word of advice, or praise. But, I think it is more literal than that. For every child that begs at my car window, for every mother with baby that points to her hungry stomach, I think I am supposed to provide some food or money for that person. What do you think? Are there alternate interpretations to this verse? To me, the timely arrival of this verse, and my need to visit Sacred Space for my daily prayer, is no coincidence. In fact, my Facebook status described the generosity of the Haitian people. What about my generosity? Have I truly been as generous as I should be? I think it is our duty as those that have to help those that have not. Even if it is a dollar, a pack of crackers, a book. The simple act of giving what you have in abundance to those that have none is so important. Generosity is a two-way street.

Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 42. “Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.”

God Bless

Steven Kirby

Friday, February 18, 2011

H.E.R.O. Founder and President Featured in Ed. Magazine

Greetings H.E.R.O. Supporters!

It is my pleasure to inform you that the founder and President of H.E.R.O., Steven Kirby, was recently featured in Ed., the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) magazine. Steven earned his Master's Degree in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from HGSE in 2004. The article describes his background in education, what led him to Haiti, and the things he has been able to accomplish in his time here. You can read the article online at Thank you for your continued support!


Michele Deardorff
Housing, Education, and Rehabilitation of Orphans (H.E.R.O.)
Web Site:


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Education and a Field Trip to the Beach

For the past 2 weeks I have been spending some time getting to know the children in our afternoon education program. I have been interviewing them one at time to better understand the life situations they come from. The theme from every interview is the same, “My family could not afford to send me to school.” And thus you have a group of children ranging in age from 6 to 18 years old that have had less than 1 year of formal education in their entire lives. It is because of this need that we are providing them with an opportunity to receive a free education.

But, their story does not start or stop there. The children I interviewed live with their families in dilapidated houses made from aluminum sheeting and tarps, with no running water or indoor plumbing. They may or may not eat every day, a problem caused by most of their family members being unemployed. When their families did have money, they would pay for a few months of schooling, but once the money stopped, so did their education.

We have a group of 20 children that have been coming since October of last year. Without fail they show up every day for class, ready to learn. As a reward for their attendance we decided to have a group outing to the beach! For most, it was the first time to go to the ocean. The day started with the students arriving at 7:00 in the morning. We gave them a snack at 7:30, and at 8:00 on the dot we headed out to the beach. After an hour and a half truck ride, we arrived at the public beach that costs less than 50 cents per person to get in. As soon as we arrived, the children hit the water. Fortunately, we had two former lifeguards with us (Kathleen and Sarah), to make sure all were safe. At 12:00 lunch was served, a delicious meal of rice and beans, chicken, and sauce. We had so much food that we were even able to feed 10 of the local kids from the area that had also come to the beach. Everyone was happy. After lunch we continued the party with some more swimming and soccer. The entire day ran smoothly, the children were extremely well behaved, and every child had a smile on their face.

On Monday the same 20 children will receive their school uniforms, many for the first time ever. We are providing a 100% free education for these children, a novel concept in Haiti. I am adamant that Haiti must begin to provide a 100% free public primary education for all children if it is ever to become a 1st world nation. I don’t want to have to ever hear that children could not go to school because their family could not afford it. I hope that you will join us as we continue to provide a free education for the most disenfranchised youth in Haiti.