Zion’s Children of Haiti was formally organized as a non-profit organization in the United States and Haiti in 2010. Preceding this, after a horrible hurricane in Gonaïves, Haiti in 2008, a few friends in Haiti, including Herby Dalencourt, Webert Osse, and Harry and Isabelle Flecher, felt drawn to come up with a way to help children in need in their community be able to attend school. Several months later in the U.S., Jeff and Alexis Bigelow, and their new friend Lauren Lyons arranged to participate in a medical mission trip to Haiti in May of 2009. They reached out to family and friends and came up with $3000 to be donated where they thought it was needed most. During that trip, Herby Dalencourt reached out to Jeff Bigelow (they had previously known each other through a church congregation in Boston), and explained their desires, and it seemed like a perfect fit for the money they had to be donated. Within a couple days, Lauren, Lex, and Jeff traveled to Gonaïves, and there met Herby, Osse, Harry, and Isabelle, along with several students in need, and the money was donated. It was enough to send eight children to school for the 2009-2010 school year.
Tragically, in January 2010, there was a devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince, and although Gonaïves didn’t experience physical devastation, they they suffered the inevitable economic effects and shared in the despair felt throughout Haiti. Friends and colleagues in the U.S. started reaching out to Jeff, Alexis, and Lauren, and that is when they decided to formalize the organization of Zion’s Children of Haiti with a name, board, bylaws, and formal 501c3 non-government organization.
Since then, Zion’s Children has flourished. Due to the generosity of family, friends, strangers, and community sponsors, Zion’s Children has grown stepwise from eight children to 60 children. When it was noticed some children weren’t performing well in school, we added a food program where we serve the children two hot and nutritious meals a week. We have also been able to add an after-school tutor to help the children excel in their classes. Due to the generosity of volunteers, we’ve donated more than 30 laptops and have started a computer lab. Every summer we have a summer camp for the children where we travel with a team of volunteers from the U.S. to teach the kids art, science, English, and sports.
Zion’s Children is a stable organization based on the needs of these children in Gonaïves. We are constantly looking for ways to grow in a stable, sensical way in order to help these kids, their families, and thus Gonaïves and Haiti succeed.