WDRB anchor visits Haiti with group helping bring educational op - WDRB 41 Louisville News

WDRB anchor visits Haiti with group helping bring educational opportunities to poor community

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MIREBALAIS, Haiti (WDRB) -- Not only is Haiti the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, it also has one of the worst educational systems in the world.

Our Kara Kirtley had the opportunity to travel to Haiti last week to work with Grace So Amazing Ministries out of Nashville to learn how the group is transforming a Haitian community through education.

Only about 50 percent of Haitians are literate, and less than 22 percent of eligible Haitian children are enrolled in secondary school, but now a group out of Nashville, Tenn. called Grace So Amazing is helping transform one Haitian community through education.

"Nothing is impossible. Everything is possible," said Grace Academy director Johnny Laporte.

Tucked inside the mountains in the heart of Haiti is a dream shared by a community. A dream stronger than the poverty, oppression, and daily struggle just to survive there.

"We have identified so many children that don't have the opportunity to go to school, and it is heartbreaking," explained Kellie Hurt, founder of Grace So Amazing Ministries, the organization behind Grace Academy.

Over 170 students attend the newly opened Grace Academy -- students who couldn't afford school otherwise. Even orphans living in the street attend.

And for kids who have so often said the words "I can't"… the curriculum "Mwen Kapab" means the opposite: "I can."

Jeanne Page, an educator and volunteer with Grace So Amazing, says they are now teaching the children to use phrases like this: "I can do this, I can do that, I can learn, I can be a leader, I can affect my community and my friends and family."

Grace So Amazing works with Haitians living in Mirebalais, a quiet community about a 90-minute drive north, away from the hustle and bustle of Port Au Prince.

The Christian organization seeks to empower not only its students, but employees as well.

"We are forcing ourselves to live a good life for them so we are an example for them," said first grade teacher Michel Ditrois. "We are living in a way that they can copy us."

In addition to providing a hot meal each day for the students, Grace Academy is also beginning a leadership program at the school based on Stephen Covey's book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, in an effort to help provide hope to a community that desperately needs it.

 Rodney Kirtley, from Bowling Green, is helping to facilitate bringing the leadership program to Mirebalais.

"This is a country you want to help because they want to help themselves," Kirtley said.

Two of the street children who attend the school want to become doctors when they graduate.You can sponsor a child at Grace Academy either by reaching out to me on Facebook where I've posted a link. Or you can email Grace So Amazing Ministries at gracesoamazinginfo@comcast.net.

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