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Amanda Keating: SCV residents, will you help these Haitian kids?

Posted: August 11, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 11, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

Nearly two years ago I traveled to Haiti to find work in international development. Instead, I found a friend caring for 20 orphans on his own.

It’s astounding; in a country with 10,000 charity organizations and billions of dollars donated every year, he still can’t receive enough support to feed them each day.

So now I share everything with them — our living space, the little income I have, and all of my time.

It doesn’t take much to see progress. In a week, we taught our 6-year-old girl to write her own name: M-E-R-L-I-N-E. With one doctor visit, we extracted a piece of lodged plastic from Davidson’s left ear — it had been there for months.

But every step forward reveals the insurmountable need: literacy, nutrition, birth certificates etc. They have nothing but their own resilience and neighbors who care for them.

I would argue that they are very rich in that regard, but that doesn’t buy them the shoes they so desperately need.

I don’t like to speak for other people, but my children can’t tell you what they need. I believe that with long-term support they can eventually grow to become leaders who can speak for themselves, but we have to fight to get them there.

My parents — and the people of the Santa Clarita Valley — gave me everything. I know the nutritional basics of the food pyramid, I can preserve my environment by recycling, and I can even compose an article about the overwhelming need in Haiti.

Now I’m helping to raise 20 children in Port-au-Prince — children who deserve the same simply because they are human. Can my community provide for my kids in the same way it provided for me?

Today my friends at Real Life Church are holding a marathon to raise money for some orphanages in Haiti — including mine. I have faith that Santa Clarita Valley residents will come through for us because you have done it before.

In 2008, I partnered with the Canyon Theatre Guild to raise funds for a refugee camp in Darfur, Sudan. Together, we bought $6,000 in medical supplies. Let’s beat that record.

I’m not going to pretend that we can “fix” Haiti. No amount of money raised can fight rampant corruption or eliminate disease. But we can help the kids we love.

Dysfunction is so deeply ingrained that we need to invest in the generations that follow. The opportunity lies dormant in orphanages throughout Haiti.

Let us raise the leaders who will lift their country out of despair.

The Run for Haiti 5K begins at 9 a.m. today at Central Park. Entry fee is $25. For more information on the fundraiser, contact Robert at Drobert770@sbcglobal.net or go to cotni.org/events/78.

Amanda Keating is a Saugus resident.

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