caribbean-velouse-and-kids_web.jpgTwo employees of the Broward school district who were members of a Palm Beach Atlantic University summer mission trip to Haiti are planning a return trip to the earthquake-shattered nation to take school supplies, clothing and toys.

ESOL guidance counselors Velouse Jean-Jacques and Viviane Jean-Francois are collaborating with the nonprofit For the Children to initiate Proje Timoun to benefit children, especially those in the Leogane area, which was particularly hard hit by the earthquake.

A kick-off event will take place this Friday at For the Children in Lake Worth.

“Our experience this summer opened our eyes to the critical needs that still remain unmet, especially for children,” Jean-Jacques said. “With its 200,000 people and its 175 schools, it suffered 80 to 90 percent building loss.  There is no remaining government infrastructure there.”

Jean-Jacques  and Jean-Francois are working with For the Children founder and CEO Reginale Durandisse to organize efforts to prepare for the return trip.

This summer, the two women, who were also accompanied by Anax Pompilus, coordinator of district services for homeless students and families, were part of the university group that traveled to Haiti  to conduct counseling and training for earthquake survivors, as well as to cater to the needs of others.

Besides conducting large and small group sessions, they also visited a makeshift school and area orphanages.

The two school employees and Durandisse say they will finance their return trip themselves, if necessary, to ensure that Leogane area children receive supplies, clothing, and toys for the holidays.

“There was an initial outpouring of assistance immediately following the January earthquake,” Jean-Francois said. “We hope to remind everyone that there is still great need there—and we hope people will work with us to help.”

MANGO TIME: Velouse Jean-Jacques, right, shares mango slices with a group of children at a Leogane orphanage as she leads a role play activity during her trip to Haiti.

WHAT: Kick-off for Proje Timoun to collect new and gently used toys, clothing, and school supplies for children of Haiti

WHEN: 3:30-5:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 8

WHERE: For the Children Inc., 1718 S. Douglas St., Lake Worth

Call Velouse Jean-Jacques, 561-351-5625, or e-mail