We chose Haiti as our first international effort for multiple reasons. First, the need is great for mental health services for children—specifically trauma therapy. Second, we have made some very key connections that have helped us get on the ground quickly. And third, the proximity of Haiti to the U.S. has made it possible for us to travel there without spending more money on travel than on trauma therapy.
HR Brown—co-founder and husband of mine—has traveled to Haiti three times to establish a presence for Grace House Children’s Project, hire our first employees, and do some training. We are headed back to Haiti tonight, and this will be my first trip. This trip is very key because we are taking five therapists from our Clinical Advisory Board, including Elisabeth Green, Guerry Green, Collette-Dawson Loveless, Leslie Brown, Cindy White, and two other board members, Jessica Welch and Deb Grisham.
Our purpose with this trip is to set up play therapy rooms and train our local employees on play therapy. We were able to get a number of toys donated from our neighborhood for these play therapy rooms. We will be setting up three different rooms with three different organizations we are working with: Haitian Roots (a school), La Maison (an orphanage), and Foye de Zion (also an orphanage).
I’m excited but a bit nervous. We have a lot to accomplish, and I hope it all goes well. These kids need help to heal from the trauma that they have experienced. By training our local employees on our trauma therapy curriculum, they will be able to begin developing a long-term therapeutic community where these kids can begin the healing process.
I can’t wait!