When my wife Helen and I moved to Palmyra 28 years ago, we had no idea of what a caring community we were joining. Palmyra is situated in South Central Pennsylvania near the center of the Pennsylvania Dutch heartland. South Central Pennsylvania has had a proud history of helping those in need around the world.
Palmyra's compassion for the less fortunate has been impressive. When this project was conceived several years ago, a history of support was started. The Palmyra Area Education Foundation (PAEF), a foundation that provides financial grants for unique educational projects in our district that go beyond the regular school district budget, is funded through the support of local businesses and the citizens of the Palmyra School District. PAEF awarded a grant to kick-start our project (A laptop and a Flip video camera) to be used at our school in Haiti, which helped start our collaborative. As our project grew and gained the attention of major players such as Intel, Microsoft, and Google, we sought and were awarded another PAEF grant to celebrate the project's successes at the Haitian Embassy in Washington, DC.
Soon after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Palmyra's caring was evident. Through clothing and food drives, we helped feed and clothe those affected by the quake. In addition, a high percentage of our project's top contributors and recurring contributors come from caring citizens within our Palmyra community. Many of these citizens have also contributed their time and talent to help us.
The Palmyra Area Education Association (PAEA) and, the staff and administration of the Palmyra Area School District have participated in a variety of fundraisers to help support this project. Among the fundraisers have been dress down days, backyard picnic game competitions, and photo scavenger hunts. Thousands of dollars have been raised from personal employee contributions to the project.
Academically, our district has track record of academic success, recently scoring a 94.2 for our high school and 90.7 for our middle school on the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile. We have even had visits by Pennsylvania Secretary of Education and the 2015 State Teacher of the Year to share in our successes. We have sought out and applied best practices in education for many years, which has contributed to our success. We have shared best practices with teaching peers in Haiti and are poised to do more.
Probably the most rewarding evidence of caring comes from our students who have been influenced by our project. Some of our students have pursued education and careers in international studies. One such student recently chose a Foreign Service position in Haiti to serve the needs of the Haitian citizens.
On Tuesday, April 14th, starting at 9:00 am EDT, Microsoft will match any donation by 50% up to $1,000 per individual contribution. A $10 donation will be turned into a $15 donation. A $100 donation would become $150! Please consider supporting this unique project with a contribution. Matching funds go quickly so please consider timing your donation as close to the 9am start time as possible. Please spread the word about this great matching opportunity as well.
Together we are making positive change in the lives of appreciative, eager Haitian students!
Thank you for your continued support!
During this unusually cold and harsh winter, it is warming to think of the smiling students in Haiti that have benefited from your generosity!
On a recent Saturday, our students from Les Bon Samaritans and James Stine College in Haiti gathered for a student run wiki training session. During that same week, our students in Palmyra worked on the wiki, adding content on their own topics of interest. It is gratifying to see students from two very different cultural backgrounds and experiences, work on a common project. Years ago when blogs and wikis were new on the scene, this global collaborative began with a vision of collaboration, creation, and outreach, which continues today.
In January, the University of Notre Dame (Alumni Association) highlighted our project on their alumni service blog! The post spotlights the history of our project, notable connections as well as the school's founder, Dr. Rodrigue Mortel. Read more on the ND blog at the link below this update.
Our next fundraising opportunity is on Wednesday, March 18th, when GlobalGiving will host a funds Matching Day starting at 9:00am EDT where all donations to our project will receive a 30% Match. Thank you for continuing to spread the word about our project and the Matching Day on March 18th as well as encouraging people to like our facebook page. We have found that opportunities to raise awareness about the needs in Haiti often come from unexpected sources, so your help in spreading the word is so appreciated!
As we look forward to the promise of spring, we look forward to continued opportunities to make global connections and assist bright, talented students in Haiti! Thank you for partnering with us to achieve this goal!
We recently returned from a visit to our project partner schools in Haiti. If there was a word to recap our visit, it would be joy. Joy in the opportunity for health, life, safety, and education, which are not to be taken for granted in Haiti. Joy for the amazing opportunities that technology provides through our project. Joy of collaboration and connectedness between students in the United States and students in Haiti.
The two youth from the United States that came with us on our trip to Haiti served as ambassadors of our Palmyra-Haiti Technology Project. They came with curiosity, excitement and joy and they were met with reciprocal curiosity, excitement and joy from their peers in Haiti. Light colored skin, light hair and braces were curiosities. A love of soccer, technology and learning were commonalities.
As adults, my wife and I were filled with joy watching students from different cultures, backgrounds and languages joyfully interact with each other. It was a genuine validation of the work that this project is accomplishing.
It was a fruitful visit from our project’s productivity standpoint. We met with students and staff at both of our partner schools, Les Bons Samaritains and James Stine College, to discuss and collaborate on our Palmyra-Haiti Technology Project. At Les Bons Samaritains (our elementary school), we conducted training on technical aspects of wiki usage. At James Stine College (our High School), we had trainings on Facebook and GlobalGiving posts along with discussion of current and future technology needs at our two partner schools. We will share those needs with you in a future project report.
We had a deeper joy with these meetings. A joy of accomplishment and of a continued future of accomplishment through your support. Johnson, Yves, Servius, are a few of the incredibly bright and talented student leaders at James Stine College who have benefited from our project. Servius was highlighted in an article by the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette regarding post Haitian earthquake success stories. His featured success was his technology prowess, in part, thanks to your support of our project. Look for other updates and pictures of this joy filled visit in future project reports, but know that your support has, is, and will continue to make a significant impact in the lives of students in Haiti and in the United States.
We thank you for your support of our recent Microsoft, Youth Spark Fund Matching Day! Thanks to the generosity of many, our project received over $1,500 in donations during that campaign.
Please celebrate our project’s success by sharing posts and encouraging others to like our project on Facebook. And thank you, also, for partnering with us to bring joy to the faces of our students in Haiti. Your investment is making a real difference in the lives of these deserving students!
Best wishes for a joy filled holiday and a happy new year.
As we approach the end of the year, we reflect on some of our project achievements and look forward to a coming year of renewed opportunity. Through it all, your support continues to sustain our project and to help it prosper.
In the spring of this year, we have had the great privilege of being guests of His Excellency, Ambassador Paul Altidore,at the Embassy of Haiti in Washington, DC. Along with great Haitian hospitality, we were warmly recognized for our project’s accomplishments.
As summer started, our project was awarded a grant to purchase an Intel Classmate PC to show our supporters in the United States, the technology we have purchased for our partner schools in Haiti.
In November, some of our project members participated in the High Hopes for Haiti 5K run (HHH5K) in Baltimore to support our schools in Haiti. Both active and alumni members of our project were present at the 5k event.
As we close out the year, we will be heading to our schools in Haiti to help facilitate some technology training for students and staff at our schools. We will be bringing a signed card from our students at Palmyra to give to our students in Haiti and our Haiti students will be doing the same for our return trip.
An important opportunity to help our project to continue to accomplish great things is through an amazing Giving Tuesday event! As you think about holiday giving please keep our project in mind. Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, December 2nd (9am and 3pm). Once again, Microsoft#YouthSpark will provide a 100% Match to all donations to our project at 9am and 3pm on#GivingTuesday – December 2nd!
As always, your ongoing support is greatly appreciated.
It is hard to describe the oasis that the Good Samaritan School and the James Stine College are in the midst of so many economic and environmental challenges present in St. Marc, Haiti. It is an oasis of hope for all of the enthusiastic students fortunate enough to attend the schools, their families who love them, the faculty and staff who work to bring out the best in them, and the financial support of many that is needed to fuel their academic achievement. The students value the faith put in them and have demonstrated that by their achievement on the Haitian National Exams. On the most recent exams, James Stine High School ranked 3rd in the Department of Artibonite out of 257 other schools in passing percentage of 12th graders with 97% passing. (The regional passing average was only 20% for 12th graders.) In addition, 100% of our 6th graders at Les Bons Samaritains passed the National Exam.
Know that your support is providing opportunities for bright, gifted, hardworking students to discover and maximize their potential! In this our 5th year on GlobalGiving, we look forward to celebrating more good things happening in Haiti!
Thank you for partnering with the students of Les Bons Samaritans and the James Stine College!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
Teacher / Project Director