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The Espwa After School Program

Young minds are still hungry for activity and discovery when the school bell rings at the end of the school day. “Spread a Little Love this Lenten Season for those Who Love to Learn.” 

The Espwa afterschool program is in its early stages of development. After evaluating and recognizing the children remain eager to learn at the end of each school day, Espwa began planning structured activites to keep them engaged. The program will allow the children to participate in intellectually, physically, and spiritually stimulating opportunities. 

The afterschool program fills the time period between the end of the school day and dinner. It is a time to keep their energetic minds and bodies active with positive reinforcement of existing skills, and development of new abilities and concepts within a safe and healthy environment. These skills, which will help them succeed when they leave Espwa, include age appropriate lessons of home economics, financial literacy, personal health, religious education, and cultural activities of art, music and dance. 

“They learn to trust each other and what it takes to become independent. They also learn to respect others and their opinions, to be part of a team, to learn from others and develop their potential,” stated Catia Delva, Social Worker at Pwoje Espwa with a Master in Population and Development and a graduate of Social Work and Legal Sciences at the State University of Haiti. 

Laurent Ronique, a 23 year old former student of Espwa who has studied computer graphics and taken courses in craft creations, is now responsible for the arts workshop at the afterschool program. “This program is a new direction that gives children and youth in the shelter the opportunity to discover their full potential and to develop it,” he stated. “In my time, there were not these kinds of activities and I am particularly happy to be one of the teachers of this program, it allows me to offer something important in return,” he continued. “The work is not easy because we lack materials but together; we do a good job,” he emphasized. 

Julio Dimitri C., 16 years old, and a Grade 9 student who came to Espwa in 2010 after the earthquake shared, “A long time ago in the project we were not busy after school except for the preparation of an activity like Christmas or the institution’s feast. Now we have lots of activities after school depending on age. It is a good activity that allows children and young people to learn while having fun. It also allows the Espwa to record fewer cases of conflict between children and young people after school. These activities also allow siblings to meet because they live separately in the same space.”

With any program of this scale, it comes with a cost.  As this after school program expands, expenses grow for playground and sports equipment, art materials, various supplies, and staff to supervise and teach.   

During this Lenten Season, can you please “Spread a Little Love for those Who Love to Learn!  Please click here.

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I fell in love with Espwa during my first visit last year. Hard to put into words, but there was a real "heart" connection with the kids and staff. It is a special place. My visit was focused primarily on the girls and the teachers. Relationships were initiated during that first visit that I treasure very much!

- Maria Simeone

There is hardly a more heartbreaking sight than seeing an orphan in Haiti--many of them who have families who simply cannot feed and clothe them. Of course there is the emotional response to their plight, but there is a more pragmatic hope--that given a chance in a loving, caring environment, these children can grow up to be leaders, people who can move their communities and the country itself in a positive, healthy direction.

- Jackie Wilson

This place is amazing! The kids and their caregivers will restore your faith in the human spirit. The magic of Espwa is that there is a childhood provided for the kids there that would not exist otherwise.Haiti has a very very long way to go, but this is a hopeful place with clean, well fed, happy children, teachers, house moms, and support staff. Fr Marc and all of the others should be very proud of their accomplishments. Help them in any way that you can!

- Kerri McDonough Croland
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