It’s the first day of school for students as they enter School of Light with bright yellow uniforms and loud chattering. This moment has been years in the making as parents, teachers, and staff continue to work together for the future of these children. It all begins within the first thousand days of a child’s life!
Building Up Moms and Children
When someone supports the First 1,000 Days program they are not only supporting a child, ages 0-3 years, they are also investing in the child’s caregiver. These children are of an age that rapid physical and cognitive development demands a consistent supply of nutrients. The mothers, most of whom are pregnant or nursing, also require good nourishment, as malnutrition poses a direct threat to the health of both child and mother. In addition to providing nutrient-dense meals, prenatal and regular vitamins will soon be available for all participants.
Two areas we focus on for the caregivers are spiritual care and education. When program participants walk on the campus, they enter an atmosphere where Jesus’ truth and peace reign. They are consistently presented with the love of Christ. Pastor Wilna is passionate about walking alongside the women, counseling through difficulties and teaching them about God’s love for them. Nurse Lerosane teaches health classes, focusing on women’s health, early childhood care, and preventative care. Being fellow Haitians and mothers, these two women inherit a level of credibility from those they minister to.
“We treat the moms like our neighbors…we treat them with hospitality.”
Liz Clarke, our program coordinator, says, “We treat the moms like our neighbors. This is our house and when they come, we treat them with hospitality. We try to have conversations with them about what’s going on in their lives.” Liz leads classes on early childhood growth and development.
Building Up Staff
Eighteen Haitian staff make up the First 1,000 Days team. “What I’m most excited about is staff and how they’ve grown and developed.” Liz notes how the team is beginning to claim responsibility for the program’s success, each one using their God-given talents to serve. Every Friday, the team meets to encourage each other and discuss issues that may have surfaced. These ladies are recognizing that their voices matter and their contributions add value to the program.
Building Up Hope
The First 1,000 Days program intentionally give families a safe place to grow and learn. We praise God for our staff and the relationships with families we serve. This partnership is crucial as the children advance to School of Light and as parents enter the Power to the Parents program. Thank you for your continued support and prayers. You are bringing hope!