Par­adise Fund helps Haiti re­cover, one mis­sion at a time

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Sup­port­ers of the Par­adise Fund re­cently re­turned from their third mis­sion trip to Haiti. The pri­mary ob­jec­tive of the lat­est visit to the sea­side town of Jacmel, Haiti, was to ren­o­vate a di­lap­i­dated restau­rant, turn­ing it into a much-needed com­mu­nity center.

It will pro­vide a safe and en­cour­ag­ing en­vi­ron­ment for af­ter-school tu­tor­ing, group ac­tiv­i­ties, town meet­ings and con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Haitians are still re­build­ing fol­low­ing the 2010 earth­quake that killed more than 220,000 peo­ple and in­jured more than 300,000. Af­ter the quake, 1.5 mil­lion peo­ple be­came home­less, and 4,000 schools were dam­aged or de­stroyed, ac­cord­ing to the Dis­as­ters Emer­gency Com­mit­tee.

The non­profit’s fo­cus is to ed­u­cate the pub­lic, lo­cally and abroad, about the on­go­ing po­lit­i­cal, en­vi­ron­men­tal, health, ed­u­ca­tional and so­cial com­pli­ca­tions plagu­ing chil­dren around the world, The Par­adise Fund had an ex­cep­tion­ally un­con­ven­tional start. Founded by a few friends who were look­ing to make a dif­fer­ence with the left­over funds they had af­ter throw­ing a party, in eight years the or­ga­ni­za­tion has grown to in­clude chap­ters in Palm Beach, Mi­ami andNew York with plans to open a new chap­ter in Los An­ge­les in the near fu­ture.

“Go­ing from the gala floor to the dirt floors of Haitian tent cities is in­cred­i­bly mov­ing,” said Par­adise Fund Chair­man and CEO Kent An­der­son. “See­ing the joy on the chil­dren’s faces as we un­veiled the new fa­cil­ity and shar­ing in their ex­cite­ment was im­mensely grat­i­fy­ing.”

With the sup­port of The Par­adise Fund, the Haiti Em­pow­er­ment Mis­sion (HEM) has also cre­ated a tran­si­tional vil­lage in Jacmel. The hous­ing struc­tures are made of durable and sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als, which pro­vide shel­ter to the 27 fam­i­lies who have been re­lo­cated from tents in Belvil, near Port-au-Prince. The vil­lage has re­cently been equipped with show­ers, toi­lets, a san­i­ta­tion sys­tem and so­lar-pow­ered light­ing. In ad­di­tion, The Par­adise Fund cur­rently spon­sors the ed­u­ca­tional needs of more than 60 chil­dren liv­ing in the vil­lage by pro­vid­ing tu­ition and trans­porta­tion to at­tend school. Uni­forms, shoes, lunches and school sup­plies are just a few of the ne­ces­si­ties the or­ga­ni­za­tion has do­nated to lo­cal pri­vate ele­men­tary, mid­dle and high school in­sti­tu­tions.

Par­adise Fund’s sig­na­ture fundraiser, the sixth an­nual “Par­adise Casino,” is set for Nov. 29 at Fla­gler Mu­seum. All pro­ceeds from the event will ben­e­fit hands-on projects and strate­gic part­ner­ships with re­lated non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions that sup­port the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s mis­sion.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.thep­ar­adis­e­fund.com.

Pho­tos by Seth Browarnik

Par­adise Fund vol­un­teers with mem­bers of the vil­lage in Jacmel, Haiti.

Haitian chil­dren help dec­o­rate a school in their vil­lage.

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