Park City High School students are in Haiti with the Hope Alliance
Earlier this week, 25 11th and 12th graders from Park City High School took off to Camatin, Haiti, with the locally based nonprofit organization called the Hope Alliance.
"This is a group of serious, intently focused high school students who are going to make a difference," said Kym Meehan, project director for Haiti with the Hope Alliance.
"They have it going on."
Meehan spoke with The Park Record last weekend before she and the group left the United States on Monday.
The group, which also includes Park City High School teacher George "Murph" Murphy, are scheduled to return to Park City on July 1, but not until they work to help the Haitian locals with sustainable projects that will help their communities, according to Meehan.
"They are Honor’s Society kids and they have been working for the past seven months to raise funding not only for the trip, but to do extraordinary expedition work when we touch down," she said. "This Park City High School team has come up with lofty projects. They took every project that I proposed and decided to do them."
These projects include installing a water well and feeding children who rarely eat more than every three days.
"The students are also responsible for funding Haitian contractors to roof three homes while we’re there," Meehan said. "The homes are owned by one elderly lady and two single mothers. They have 12 children between the families."
Other projects include setting up mosquito netting, redirecting water-filtering systems into a cistern and installing curtains.
"My sewing school that is made up of women who are part of the Hope Alliance’s school in Camatin have made some curtains, so we’re taking curtain rods with us," Meehan said.
The students will also distribute personal water filtration systems and more than 700 hygiene kits.
"These kits include soap, a washcloth, toothpaste, toothbrush and comb that are all in a Ziplock bag," Meehan said. "These kits will help the kids in Haiti with hygiene for about a month."
Not only did the students help collect the items for each of the kits, but they also raised the money that helps the different projects.
The more recent fundraiser they kids did was a 5K memorial run a few weeks ago.
"They made enough money to sink a water well in the hilltop community called Fonnaboth," Meehan said. "This is a place where teachers teach for free and the classes are organized by the students’ abilities and not by age. So the Park City students are going to build a well there and give this tarp-school potable water."
As a surprise to the students, the Fonnaboth community is planning a ceremony during the dedication of the cistern.
"All the girls will do a little dance ceremony for them and the teachers have made a plaque for the students," Meehan said. "Then we will feed the entire community during this ceremony. I’ve already sent over some money for materials and food."
The group is also going to use 32 gallons of paint to paint the inside of the Hope Alliance’s orphanage.
"We’re also planning to do some arts and crafts," Meehan said. "Gracie Kilbourn, who is part of the Young Artists Academy at the Kimball Art Center, will do a mural in the building and she has several women who will be involved in that."
One of the missions of Hope Alliance is micro-enterprise, which helps locals sustain themselves.
"For the new micro-enterprise project, we’re going to teach the women to make paper beads," Meehan said. "The 27 Haitian women involved in the project can check out jewelry kits to make these beads and then we’ll bring those back to Park City to sell them.
"A group of Park City High School students will teach them how to make the beads," she said. "They are so cool and even I can do them, and I can’t wait for the kids to meet these women."
Hard work isn’t the only thing that awaits the Hope Alliance group. There will be some fun recreational activities as well.
"We’ve scheduled three soccer games, where I know we’re going to get our [butts] kicked," Meehan said. "But it will be really fun, and the kids from Park City will bring one or two soccer balls that we’ll leave behind. We’ve also got some Gatorade for the party afterwards so we can be good losers."
Then on Sunday, everyone is going to the beach.
"We’re packing all the students, staff and community members for this," Meehan said. "We’ve got a full week ahead of us."
For more information about the Hope Alliance, visit http://www.thehopealliance.org.
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