Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What a year it has been….

Be the Power of One 2013 Summary

As we come to the end of 2013 we look back on a year of reflection, growth, accomplishments and great joy. Our Board of Directors would like to thank you for the support and encouragement you have given to Be the Power of One this year. Your gifts have changed the lives of so many children and families.

Our annual trip in August gave us an opportunity to once again coordinate the summer program at Institution Vallee d'Adoration et Benediction in Pignon, Haiti. It is such a wonderfully exhausting week for us. By week’s end the program that includes school lessons, craft projects, singing and plenty of outdoor fun attracts more than 200 children a day. When the week concludes, craft supplies, toothbrushes, toothpaste, small toys and gifts are given to each student. We are also able to provide students a nutritious lunch each day. Your ongoing support and our fundraising events have allowed us to pledge funds that will cover 60% of the school expenses for 120 year round students.

 Spending time at the school gives us a chance to witness how the community well, drilled with Rotary support in 2011 by Haiti Outreach, continues to profoundly affect the entire community. With a source close by, women and children no longer have to walk long distances to provide water for their families. The well is also a social center were folks of all ages interact as they wait for their turn at the pump. We spent time with the founder and executive director at Haiti Outreach and look forward to working with them on larger water projects.

Jean-Ronel Joseph the recipient of our first “Higher Education Scholarship” continues to excel in his two-year theological program at the Windward School of Evangelism in St Vincent. After graduating this coming April he will return to Haiti, and we look forward to having Jean-Ronel as our primary contact there. His English skills will quickly prove invaluable. We are so proud of his accomplishments and know that his hard work has changed his entire family’s future. Now we start the application and interview process for our next scholar.

Looking forward to 2014 we know we have our work cut out for us. We have committed in principle to partnering with Haiti Outreach in drilling five more community wells, a number of high school graduates have approached us regarding college scholarships and we are exploring opportunities to support other schools.                                                                                                                                            
                                                                                 These are ambitious goals for Be the Power of One.
Your support and encouragement will make this all possible. The work of Be the Power of One has already changed so many lives and 2014 is the year to step it up! As you make your year end contributions please consider an additional gift to Be the Power of One. Every dollar makes a huge impact in Haiti and 97% of each dollar goes directly to program expenses.

Please feel free to call with any questions. As always we welcome any opportunity to speak to your friends, churches or service clubs.

Monday, November 4, 2013

First Higher Education Scholar Nears Program Completion

Nearly two years ago Jean-Ronel Joseph received Be the Power of One's first scholarship to attend a college or university program. Jean-Ronel applied and was accepted to attend the West Indies School of Evangelism (WISE) for their two year Associates Degree in Theology. He has been an outstanding student in his theological studies as well as the English and computer programs. Jean-Ronel has helped us from day one with our work in Pignon and we are so proud of his accomplishments. His hard work has changed his life and will continue to have a positive effect on his community and his entire family tree. The positive rippling effects of his work are incalculable.

Headed towards a spring 2014 graduation Jean-Ronel has asked for some final financial support as he transitions from student to community leader. Below is a copy of a recent letter from Jean stating his gratitude and needed support. Please consider partnering with us in supporting this final step in Jean-Ronel's education. Gifts of all sizes are greatly appreciated and will be well used. Donations using PayPal can be made at the "How You Can Help" page or mailed to Be the Power of One, Post Office Box 1636, Oakhurst, CA 93644.

Thank you for your continued support and encouragement!!

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that you and your surroundings are doing magnificently great in the Lord.

I wanted to take this time to thank you (Tim), Susan and the board of Be the power of One for what you have been doing in my community (Pignon) which is extremely useful to me particularly. Thank you for your generosity, specifically your prayers, your financial support, and also being involved in my learning of God’s words at every standpoint here at WISE. To be honest this is like a pipe dream come true to me, and it tastes really palatable to my soul, arm and body. I feel like God is moving in my life by putting you all guys by my sides the same as He did for Timothy by putting Apostle Paul on his side to support him throughout his ministry.

I know it is not an easy task brother, but your reward is not going to be an earthly reward but a heavenly eternal reward (Mark 9:41); this passage of scripture says you cannot lose whatever you do for someone who is belong to Christ. As I have told you in our small conversation about some of the things that I am going to be in need of, in my preparation not only for graduation, but also in my heading to home sooner. Here are the needs that I would love you to see in what ways you can help provide with…The ticket = $ 246 USD, 4 long shirt sleeves including a white one with a red tie for graduation to put under the garment ($25 each) ; 4 dress slacks ($30); a pair of Dressing shoes ($60); a pair of sneakers ($35), a luggage for books and notebooks ($50), and the last of all is a 4GB jump drive($25).

Thank you again my brother for your loving-kindness and your passion to help those who are in need; Remember even if you’re doing what is good for God’s glory but that can happen you cope with hardship sometimes but notice if God is pleased with what you’re doing who can be against you?( Romans 8:31), the answer is no one."    

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

July 2013 Trip Summary

This is the fourth trip that we have made to Pignon, Haiti and we will forever have our hearts and souls connected to the country and our friends who live there.

For a week in July, with the help of eight Haitian friends and Destany Morgan from Coarsegold, we put on a summer program for the children of the community. As in past years this program was at the Vallee d’Adoration et Benediction (Valley of Adoration and Benediction) Elementary School in Pignon. The entire program is done in a single 20’ X 30’ classroom with no air conditioning and minimal ventilation. Along with singing both Creole and English songs (the Hokey-Pokey is still a favorite), creating craft projects (including edible bracelets made with licorice whips and Fruit Loops) and Bible stories there was plenty of outdoor recreation. Being outdoors gives the kids time to burn off some of their apparently unlimited energy as well as give us a chance to catch our breaths. The week typically starts with about 100 kids and by the end of the week that number has grown to over 250. We try to arrange lunches each day and on Friday we give each student a toothbrush and toothpaste along with some small gifts. The news of lunches and gifts spreads throughout the community and as a result this year we hit a record of 292 kids on Friday. It was a madhouse and lots of fun. The week is not only fun for the kids it gives parents a break knowing that their children will be well supervised and entertained. We feel blessed to have the energy, support and encouragement to continue this program.

We also worked on some long term planning issues for future efforts in Haiti. Included in this was setting up an account for the school at the Fonkoze Bank in Pignon. Fonkoze is an international organization that provides banking services in developing countries. This account will allow us to deposit money directly into the school account without going through Pastor Carsel’s church in Florida. It will also allow us to track expenditures. When we make these trips we typically stay in a Haitian family’s home. This can present a number of challenges including lack of running water and electricity, communication barriers and inconvenience for the host families. While we have chosen to accept these challenges as part of the experience we are not comfortable asking others to do the same. Since we have a number of friends and family who would like to make a trip to Haiti and not face as many challenges, we spent our last night in the guesthouse at Haiti Outreach -http://www.haitioutreach.org . It was a treat for us and the perfect spot to house others making future trips. The guesthouse has hot and cold running water, electricity, flush toilets, internet and offers three meals a day. Future trips will be housed at Haiti Outreach. The time we spend with Haiti Outreach Founder, Neil Van Dine, and Executive Director Dale Snyder was invaluable. Each has over 20 years of working, and in Neil’s case living, in Haiti. They shared their experiences, past mistakes and cultural insights with us. We felt like this information took years off our learning curve. We look forward to making a clear and ambitious commitment to working with Haiti Outreach on some larger countrywide programs. It was inspiring to spend time with them.

As always we are happy to be back. We feel grateful each and every day for the abundance and comforts we enjoy at home. These trips have had such a positive effect on our lives and those of our family and friends. Every trip we learn more about ourselves and what is important in living a life that benefits the greater good.

We are very blessed.  


Monday, May 6, 2013

May 3rd Wine Tasting a HUGE Success

What an event it was last Friday night!! All the work, all the effort and all the worry was well worth it. We are recuperating some now as we wrap up the event and look towards the 3rd Annual Wine Tasting.

For everyone who made the event, "thank you" for being there and thanks to those of you who were unable to attend yet supported us through pre-event sales. It would not have been nearly as successful without Casey and Alyssa Lucas making Cool Bean Cafe available to us. Thanks guys!!! Support from our three winery partners; Idle Hour (http://www.idlehourwinery.com), Westbrook Wine Farm (http://www.westbrookwinefarm.com) and Fasi Estate (http://www.fasiestate.com) once again went way beyond the call of duty. Thanks to Deb and Anna from Idle Hour as well as Jane from Fasi Estate for being such gracious pourers. We all enjoyed the amazing appetizers from the YHS Culinary students (thanks Dena Bortz!!) and a taste of the Caribbean from "Taste of Soul" (thanks Shellie and Chantel !!). A big "well done" to students from Minarets High's advanced media program for cramming to get the first cut of our new video ready for sharing last night. It was a nice touch! Courntey Lynn's illustration was a classy touch that shined as a print and on our t-shirts. We blew it by not having more prints of the popular illustration. We'll get more printed.

And finally, thanks to our friend Noella for handling all the check-in and money duties. Her work freed a lot of brain space for us.

In every way the success of the 2nd Annual Wine Tasting Event exceeded our expectations and we have all of you to thank for that. The support and encouragement that Susan and I get from events like this truly touches our hearts. Be the Power of One will net somewhere in the neighborhood of $2800 from last Friday's event. We feel very blessed. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

May 3, 2013 - 2nd Annual Wine Tasting Event

A friend of ours and accomplished local artist Courtney Lynn has created an original piece for our 2nd Annual Wine Tasting Event on May 3rd in Oakhurst California. Courtney has given us permission to make some prints of her original work. These 8" X 10" prints, 11" X 14" matted, are available to purchase for $15. We may do some commemorative  t-shirts as well.

Last year this event was so much fun with amazing wines donated by Westbrook Wine Farms (O'Neals, CA), Fasi Estate (Madera, CA) and Idle Hour Winery (Oakhurst, CA). It was great to see so many good friends and to share stories about our work in Haiti. This year is shaping up to be an even bigger event. We are hoping to set up a video link with Jean-Ronel who has been our main organizer on the ground in Haiti. He is currently enrolled in a two year theology program in St. Vincent.

Thanks to Courtney for her artistic contributions, to Jean-Ronel for his efforts and to Alyssa and Casey Lucas, owners of Cool Bean Cafe and our hosts for the evening. Hope to see you there!

Tim & Susan

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Our Annual Letter to Donors

January, 2013

We are writing this letter on the weekend of the third anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010. It was an event that changed Haiti and it was an event that has changed our lives forever.

Another year has passed and we look back with appreciation and gratitude for all of the blessings we have received. The support that you and other donors have given to Be the Power of One continues to touch the lives of so many families in Haiti. Each trip we make to Haiti gives us a chance to step outside the life of abundance and comfort that we have created here at home. In Haiti it can be trying at times to live without electricity or running water or air conditioning or many of the other comforts we take for granted. The roads in rural Haiti are horrendous and too often lead to frustrating travel delays. We are humbled by the fact that we only deal with these issues for a week at time while for our Haitian friends this is their daily life. Many times they have shown us grace and patience under conditions that others would find unbearable. It is out of our respect for their faith, their hard work and their friendship that we find the energy and strength to continue the work of Be the Power of One.

Here is a quick update of projects that were completed during 2012.

1.     Jean-Ronel Joseph, whose help in Pignon has been invaluable, is in St. Vincent studying for a degree in theology. Be the Power of One provided a $1500 grant through our “Higher Education Program” that paid for his transportation, visa expenses and a portion of his new laptop computer. He is enjoying school, his English is dramatically improving and we keep in touch through Facebook and Skype.

2.     During our July trip to Pignon we formally dedicated the well, which was drilled in October of 2011. It’s not only a blessing to the school, the entire neighborhood benefits from this new, easily accessible source of clean water.

3.     Also during the July trip we were able to arrange for a consistent source of food for school lunches. Starting in October, with help from Living Hope Haiti, 115 school children are now getting a nutritious lunch everyday. This has been a focus of ours from the beginning because, for many students, this may be their only meal for the day.

4.     Our summer program in Pignon continues to grow. This year, by the end of the week, we had well over 200 students. Everyone enjoyed craft projects, singing both English and Haitian songs, playing with Frisbees and jump ropes and of course doing the Hokey Pokey.  Thanks to generous donations from local dentists we were able to provide a toothbrush and toothpaste for each student. 

5.     We had the opportunity to meet with the school staff and administrator to hear their needs and concerns. This was the first year that we were able to get a clear, written budget for the school. We have often estimated that the school needs about $1000 per month in support and were encouraged to see that the budget was just over $12,000 per year. In addition to the money that is provided for meals we continue to send monthly support for the school staff and are still well short of their budget.

So what does the future bring? On an ongoing basis we share our story with anyone one that will listen. Local Rotary Clubs continue to support Be the Power of One with words of encouragement and financial support. Other service clubs including the Lions, Kiwanis and Soroptomist have invited us to speak at their meetings and have been very generous in their support. We want to focus on expanding our “Send a Student to School” program with a goal of 100 donors pledging $10 per month towards our educational programs. Beyond this we have plans to expand programs for college and university students. With the help of our Board of Directors we will be developing several fund raising events throughout the year. Past events have been so much fun and they are a great way to connect with all our Be the Power of One friends. We are currently holding a raffle for a beautiful 3 liter special edition wine along with other prizes.  This generous donation is from Vincent Arroyo Winery in Napa Valley and is signed by the winemaker.  Tickets are available for $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00.  There are so many other plans and dreams that more dollars, more time and more energy will bring to fruition.

We welcome and appreciate your continued support and encouragement in 2013. We can all Be the Power of One with one dollar, one hour of service or one kind thought for someone in need.

Many thanks,

Tim & Susan

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

We were surprised...

Susan and I were so surprised and honored to receive this recognition for the work of Be the Power of One. Pastor Carsel St. Fleur is the founder of the school in Pignon and is also the pastor at the Eglise Chretienne Samarie Church in Miami, Florida. This plaque really honors the work that we have all done to help bring educational opportunities to children in Haiti. Thank you all for being a part of Be the Power of One.