Monday, November 2, 2009

Help My Former High School Teachers and Their Students Make a Difference

I am a graduate of Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton, Ontario. Although, I am an avid home school mom and promote it in any way I can, I can not deny that there are some great Catholic Schools! I attended one many years ago. Not only that, but during one of the hardest years of my young life, a teacher couple from that school allowed me to board in their home. They are a very energic and loving couple whom I admire very much. I remember asking Joy, "How will I ever be able to repay you for what you have done for me?" She answered something like this, "In the future, when you have the opportunity to help someone like we helped you, then do it."

I just recently found out that Joy, her husband Peter and their daughter are going to an orphange in the DR (Dominican Republic). If I weren't due around the time of their mission trip, I would have like to have gone myself. But I probably wouldn't have been able to afford it either. I really want to support them in any way I can. Joy and Peter and their team from SHHS (Sacred Heart High School) are a dedicated and lively bunch that need are busy fundraising and collecting donations to make a difference in the lives of the orphans in the DR.

Here is an excerpt from the newsletter that Joy sent me...

The orphanage in the Dominican Republic is located about one hour from the capital of Santo Domingo and about 5 minutes from the city of San Pedro de Macoris. At present there are about 165 children living on site. Over the eight weeks, four teams worked very hard and completed many projects. The following are just a few . . . .

- Started and completed the new soccer field and irrigation system - donated irrigation pipes and donated goal nets
- The medical team did a health assessment for all the children on site as well as their caregivers. This team also processed patients from 8 bateys (villages) totaling 800 in all. GREAT WORK!
- The sports outreach team, joined by some of the children from the orphanage and some of the members from the Texas Rangers Training Camp, played many sports games with children and adults at about 7 Bateys and left sports outfits and equipment for their "teams".
- Sports outfits and equipment were also left at the orphanage for the children - of course, all the teams had twice weekly games of soccer and baseball with the children.
- Irrigated the garden area near the kitchen - next year the whole farm will be irrigated.
- Started a building in Batey Nuevo to house an adult education school as well as a small medical dispensary. The team also left funds to complete and equip this building, teacher's salary and educational aids.
- repiring taps, toilets, shower heads, cleaned out drains, made new tables, installed towel hooks, mirrors, shelves, etc.
- murals painted in the Library. Julie (the one year volunteer from France who is also the librarian) was very impressed!
- mural and shelving painted in the therapy room at the clinic. Nina (the one year volunteer from Austria who is also the therapist) was very happy.
- Started the process of constructing the safari unit for the back of the new truck.
- Kick started the sewing program again to the point that it will be part of the regular curriculum
- Dr. Don was back and held clinics at the orphanage and the small village, Batey Nuevo.
- Many volunteers helped the English teacher in her class at the school.
- Clotheslines were repaired and 4 new sets installed
- About 4 of the children's houses were painted
- special tables made for the library and the special needs house
- Repairing playground equipment and general maintenance around the houses.
- cutting and storage table made for the sewing room at the school
- There were about 45 hockey bags of shoes brought with the teams. These were donated to the children at the orphanage, to the workers on site and to people in the local villages
- Music played a very important role this year. We had many talented volunteers that helped at the school, played and sang at the Sunday Church Service and played each night at different Casas (children's houses).
- We added another piece of playground equipment - a new swing set - to the school at Batey Monte Christi - and also had a BBQ for the children there.
Again, this is just a sampling of what the team members were involved with.

Volunteer team dates for 2010 -
This year the theme is "Farming"

#1A - Mon., Jan 25 - Mon., Feb 8 - general (min. of 20 to a max. of 40 members)

International NPH meeting Mexico - Feb 8 - 15 - no volunteer teams

#1B - Mon., Feb. 15 - Mon., Mar. 1 - general (min. of 20 to a max. of 40 members)
Note - If there are enough team members for 1A and 1B, both will be a go.
If not, we will combine 1A and 1B.

#2 - Mon., Mar. 1 - Mon., Mar. 15 - medical and general (40 members max.)

#3 - Walkerton Sacred Heart HS - Mon., Mar. 15 to Mar. 29 - This team is full(20 Walkerton + 6 Gina + 5 Elsie + 10 Truro Mac Tacs)

Note * All team trips are composed of many areas of work, be it in construction, landscaping, working with the children - art, games, helping in the children’s homes, working with the care givers, helping in the English class at the school, sewing program, general "handyman", mechanic, painting welding, etc. -- there is a spot for everyone.
*** one on one attention is so meaningful to the kids who are abandoned or orphaned***. Contact Ken or Mark if you would like to participate in any of the above dates, they will send you an application form, waiever and general question and answer sheets.

Also note - that the trips for 2010 will run Monday to Monday and we will fly with West Jet into La Romana which is about 45 minutes from the orphanage. We are doing this to get the best rates to the airport closest to the orphanage.

For about a dollar a day you can make a difference in the life of one of the children at any of the NPH orphanages in 9 countries. Contact Ken or Mark.

Donations . . . . again, your help is appreciated . . . Our volunteer groups depend on donations from organizations and individuals to support the work we do for the children at the orphanage and surrounding villages. Each volunteer can take two 50 lb hockey bags packed with donations (and possibly in 2010, one extra bag per person, if we get an OK from the airline for the extra "humanitarian" bag -- Thanks to West Jet for the extra bag last year!!!) . The volunteers on the 2009 trip brought with them over 300 hockey bags of donations!!! It was wonderful to see the look of thanks and gratitude on the faces of those receiving help. The extent of what we can do often rests with the generosity of people and the content of what is in those bags.

Some comments from team volunteers and orphanage volunteers -

"At the orphanage, I had an hour long conversation with a boy who is 13. He speaks French, so that is the only reason why I could speak with him for so long. He is from Haiti and came here three years ago because he has cancer. He was only to stay here while he was having his radiation treatments. However, his family never came to pick him up and take him home so he is still here at the orphanage. Hearing this story made my heart just drop but watching him cope and have such a positive attitude on life is amazing. He and I became really close so I gave him my cross (given to me by the school) so it gives him faith for the future." (one of the student volunteers)

"The warmth is wonderful. We feel it not only from the sun but through the eyes and smiles of the children."

"After supper, our entire large group, Nova Scotia and Walkerton, walk to Batey Nuevo and it is here we witness first hand the harsh realities that life in the Dominican Republic holds for so many."

"We had our first singing visit to the casas (children's houses) and this was a powerful, emotional highlight for all of us."

Someone once said to me, "You and Ken come here, this year for over 8 weeks, endure all this heat, cold showers, rice and beans, come home many pounds lighter, look after all the organizational needs for all the volunteers and still pay for the experience like everyone else. You are really dedicated!"

"I found inspiration in your groups and especially your leadership. I wonder sometimes if the decision I made (to come here) was the best and I am not sure if I will ever know, but I do know that I will forever be indebted to your groups that came here. They reminded me why I came here in the first place and why in some way this place will always be home. You reminded me of the importance of the work that we are doing and that it is not done in the vacuum of one country or home, but together.
Your volunteers graciously came to English classes to help, especially Connie's experiences for three weeks in the school! As they saw and you know, the school is an area of great potential and something I think can be improved significantly in the future. But if there were ever a place that reminds you where the kids are coming from and how important it is where they are going, it would be the school. The example your volunteers gave our children was priceless. Their time and their care in helping the children, talking with them, and smiling . . . more than anything, that. I was moved to tears of joy one day in the classes as I watched every single third grader have someone to work with them and talk to them, congratulate them and hug them as they completed their work. These are the moments that change peoples' lives. The kids never receive the one-on-one attention they need - a feat that is nearly impossible - but for that one afternoon they had what they deserved and they saw it and believed it." - Kelly, English teacher, one year volunteer from Boston.

"Wow, back to reality. We had 2 feet of snow and school cancelled today in Nova Scotia. We are all back and we are all humbled by the experience. Thank you all for making it happen. It's a real gift. It's great how giving a little love makes you come home feeling richer than when you left. It was all wonderful. We WILL see you all again." Ian & Brenda

Tools - would be nice if we could purchase them in the DR. This helps the local economy and you get a full tax receipt for your donation. Items the orphanage needs are - socket set, wrench set, vice grips, adjustable wrenches, side cutters (linesman pliers), any mechanic and carpentry tools, welder.

If you would like to give a donation of money for a special project (health care, schooling, sewing project, tools for trade shops, clothing for children, furniture for children’s house, etc.) we can make the purchase in the Dominican Republic and give you a tax receipt for the full amount. If you make note in the memo area of your cheque where you would like your donation directed, we will make sure your wishes are carried out. We guarantee the money donated will only be used for what you indicated and we can take photos to show you your money in action. Send cheques (made out to Friends of the Orphans Canada) to Ken Speers #5133 Line # 90 RR # 2 Palmerston Ont. N0G 2P0.

More on the 2010 trip . . . .

If you always wanted to experience a "working holiday" - think about this opportunity.

We are looking for volunteers from all walks of life and all ages. Men and women, students 18 and older (or younger people with guardians). Volunteers knowledgeable in . . . welding, electrical, plumbing, auto mechanics, carpentry - we hope to have children working along side you to get first-hand knowledge. As well, volunteers to help with handicap and special needs children, art and art therapy, help with the English teacher, massage therapy, music. This year we have a medical team and are looking for Doctors, nurses, optometrists and any other health professionals. Please note . . . you don't really need a special skill . . . just being there with the children makes a difference.

Costs . . . Each volunteer pays $2,500. to take part (this is the cost of a two week trip, one week is the same price) - (a tax receipt for the full amount will be issued). To raise the funds, you can solicit friends, relatives, your church, community service groups, auction a talent you have, work as a group to fundraise. All payments should be made out to Friends of the Orphans Canada and sent to Ken Speers # 5133 Line # 90 RR # 2 Palmerston Ont. N0G 2P0. (please mark in the memo line D.R. Trip). Of the $2,500. about $1,000. goes toward the orphanage projects, the balance covers your flight, food, lodging, sight seeing. The only other money you would need would be for souvenirs, etc. Team members are responsible for their own travel insurance. Trip applications are available from Ken or Mark.

During your stay at the orphanage, everyone will have the opportunity to visit the NPH (off site) housing project, go to town (San Pedro) to buy supplies, interact with the local villagers (bring cards or games, if you wish). We may also have the opportunity to visit a local shoe factory and/or arrange for a horse back excursion. During the weekends, we will be staying off-site at a hotel/resort. We will have lots of time to interact with the children at school and at their houses, games of soccer and baseball, possibly at the beach. There are side trips planned to take a tour of the Texas Ranger (or possibly the Blue Jays) Baseball Training Camp, National scenic caves, possibly a walking tour of the Zona Colonial (old city section) of Santo Domingo and you will have free time to shop, dance, etc. in San Pedro de Macoris. Most of the questions you may have are answered in the Question and Answer information available from Mark or Ken.

"You may only be one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child." Father Wm Wasson, founder of NPH (1936-2006)

A bit about the children . . . The boys and girls at Nuestros PequeZos Hermanos (Spanish for "Our Little Brothers and Sisters") are orphaned, abandoned or disadvantaged. Many have suffered physical and/or verbal abuse, have lived in horrible conditions and may have been shuffled from one family member to another. Like all children, they are seeking love and security, a place they can call home. They are referred to NPH by family members, neighbours or government agencies. When they come to NPH, they range in age from newborn to teenager and are told they will never be asked to leave.

Children at NPH homes are not available for adoption. Instead they are welcomed with their brothers and sisters and become a part of the larger, stable NPH family environment, giving them a chance to focus on education, personal and spiritual growth, knowing that a loving support system will always be in place for them. The children grow and learn in their culture and language and become contributing citizens in their own countries.

There is no fixed age at which the children leave NPH. They stay until they feel prepared to live independently. Some children may leave NPH and start working after finishing secondary school or take vocational training or study at a university. Additionally, when a child has completed his or her education, or perhaps before going on to higher academics, they are expected to give back to their NPH family by completing a year of service (aZo de servicio or aZo familiar). In almost all cases, they gladly return to work with younger children, serve in the kitchen, offices, school or farm. During their time of Family Service, they continue to be supported by NPH.
Thousands of pequeZos are now self-sufficient adults with families of their own. Many are educators, doctors, accountants, carpenters, farmers, mechanics, artists, administrators and social workers. Some work for NPH in one of the nine countries where NPH has homes. Having learned the NPH philosophies of sharing and giving back, others support Friends of the Orphans Canada and NPH by sponsoring children, organizing fundraisers, or attending special events and serving as ambassadors for the organization. You can learn more at and also check

If there are any questions that have not been covered here, or if you have any comments, please be in touch with Joy or Peter King

To support the Team from SHHS please send cheques payable to:

Joy A King
Music Teacher ~ DR Trip 2010
Sacred Heart High School
Walkerton, ON


  1. Oh my goodness! Is that Jillian in the first picture opposite Joy??? The last picture I have of her, she is about 2 and a half!!!! Oh my!It's great to hear some news about them! What a great project!Kathleen

  2. I don't think that's Gillian. She is going down to the DR with them this spring, though. I haven't seen her for so long either. Apparently she is getting quite tall.Btw, do you remember Chris W. (aka Kurt) from The Sound of Music? I got a letter from him last week. His new name is Brother Paul John Mary and he is living in Mission BC. It is really neat talking to old SHHS alumni.God Bless.

  3. Yes I remember him!! Wow! That's amazing! It is so amazing to hear where everyone has ended up!


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