At H.E.R.O. we recognize the importance of maintaining positive relationships with any surviving relatives of the children in our care. While our children have all lost both their mother and father, they still have extended families that simply do not have the means to care for them. As the children begin to age out of our program, between the ages of 18-21, we want to make sure that H.E.R.O. is not the only entity that provides them with continual support during their adult lives. It is important that our children maintain relationships with their families as well, so that they are able to receive additional support as they progress through their lives.
On the morning of December 31st, our Residence Director and I dropped off the children to their respective families in various suburbs of Port-au-Prince. I was truly humbled as each child selected most of the gifts that had been given to them during Christmas, and took them home to give to younger cousins or friends that had most likely received nothing during the holiday season. Our kids realize how blessed they are to have such a rare opportunity at life success, that they willingly give away their prized possessions to others in need. I was truly impressed.
After four days and three nights with their families the children returned to the H.E.R.O. House. They recounted stories of eating Soup Joumou (Pumpkin Soup), lighting fireworks, and being able to spend quality time with their aunts, uncles, and cousins. I could tell that they had enjoyed their family time, but were also happy to be back. Our plan for next year is to allow them to stay for an entire week, to allow more time for them to bond with their families. Until then, we will continue to work to provide the housing, education, and rehabilitation the children in our care deserve.
Steven M. Kirby, Ed.D