WELCOME TO OUR HOUSE!
We are going through an application process right now, through the IBESR (Haitian Govt progam, that is in charge of all children’s programs), which allows the government to recognize specific children associated with Streethearts. We currently have files on 86 kids. *This does not mean that they all reside at the safehouse. Some kids stay with family members, but still participate in the sports programs, visit the barber shop, etc.
The goal is NOT to raise other people’s children for them. We are a social work program that interviews families and focuses on job placement for the parents. We hope to rehabilitate and reunite the children with their families, once the family is financially stable. WE ARE NOT AN ORPHANAGE! We look forward to partnering with the police in Cap-Haitien and the IBESR for abused child placement. (In an emergency, the IBESR and Police recognize the safehouse, and will be able to place kids in the house during transitional periods). This partnership has not been finalized, but we are working hards towards this goal.
Children MUST shower upon entering the house and in the mornings before they leave. Each child has their own toothbrush and towel. The rooms share soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorant.
We do not allow fighting, stealing, disrespect of each other or adults, damaging property, or using foul language. If these rules are violated, there are consequences. We do not EVER want to have to excuse a child from our house, but in extreme circumstances (violence, etc.) steps towards this are in place. The “House Rules” are listed as soon as you enter the house. All children are encouraged to memorize the rules, and are tested periodically.
At this time, we take children off the street up until 11pm. There is a 30 minute grace period (11:30pm), but it’s not publicized. (Our security remains at entrance for an additional 30 minutes in case of emergency). In an emergency situation (violence or abuse) we will take the child at whatever time they arrive. They are instructed to notify their “Big Brother” immediately, who will inform security. We are working to install an emergency doorbell for these instances, that can be heard from the street entrance throughout the first floor. In addition, we have an emergency stationary phone inside the building. Security is authorized to use this, in the event that they need to contact police, firemen, or any other emergency number. Emergency contact info is clearly posted in the house. In addition, the house schedule, staff schedule, and Streethearts future goals are also posted on the “information wall” for all to access.
The children that reside at the house have chores in order to maintain their bed station. This includes sweeping the floor, mopping, taking out the trash, making the beds, cleaning the bathrooms, etc.
We do not provide meals at this time, but are fundraising* to do so. We have to feed these kids! The goal is to serve a protein shake in the mornings, and a nutritious meal in the late afternoon. The menu will consist of spaghetti or rice/beans, vegetable, and a protein (meat, chicken, fish). We are working on enhancing their typical cooking style, to incorporate a healthier and more educated diet (easy on the oil). We do provide drinking water.
We look forward to incorporating laundry services in the next few months. *If you would like to support this program, please contact our team!
Each child that participates in Streethearts is assigned a Big Brother. Big Brothers are staff and board members, who are responsible for 5-6 kids each. The child memorizes their Big Brothers phone number, and are instructed to call them in case of an emergency. They can call them at any time. Big Brothers are encouraged to hang out with their “little brothers” and most of them stop by the house daily. If a child is acting up, they are held responsible. Big Brothers serve as mentors and meet with their kids regularly to check in and continue to deepen their relationships. Big Brothers are assigned based on personality and child’s receptiveness to that individual. All Big Brothers consist of team and Executive Council members.
Pastor Issac and Assistant Pastor Fredlyn hold a bible study/church lesson for the kids every Sunday from 4-6pm. This is held on the first floor of the house in the multi-purpose room. This is a non-denominational, bible-based lesson, focused on encouraging the kids to build a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus and understand that they are loved. Positive reinforcement is the main focus, although, there are rules and restrictions for those who participate. We strongly encourage all of the kids to attend, however – attendance is not mandatory. We do provide a meal and juice during the lesson, for those in attendance.
Coach Bastien has put together a sports program, to include: running, basketball, soccer, and judo. The kids sign-up, based on interest, and are aware of their sports schedule. Using sports is a great way for our kids to learn teamwork, motivation, selfworth, and it encourages a healthy lifestyle! We rely on donations from our friends in the USA for uniforms and equipment. We are in conversations with the Minustah group associated with sports in Cap-Haitien. We hope to be able to secure a partnership in order to participate at Cap-Haitien’s newly renovated gymnasium. Our sports and rec schedule is based in the afternoons and early evenings, when the kids would normally be begging or hanging out in the streets.
We have lockers at the safehouse facility, two kids per locker. They do not have to reside at the house, in order to have a locker. Our “buddy system” creates accountability, regarding each child’s items and helps them learn to trust. They are not able to leave the safehouse with their belongings. They must be wearing everything on their person. This helps combat street violence, stealing, and, re-selling donated items.
The running program is unique in that the children earn stickers as they achieve miles. If they earn 10 stickers, they get a pair of shoes. 20 stickers earns them sandals. 30 stickers earns them church shoes, and so on. This is a popular program held in the afternoon 3 times a week.
We have partnered with H.A.N.D.S. (Helping Haiti and Soccer) www.helpinghaitiandsoccer.org who holds an annual soccer tournament in Cap-Haitien each year. They provide us with equipment, and incentivize the kids with medal-earning opportunities.
SWEETS FOR BEING SWEET
We encourage the kids to help out…After all, this is THEIR center! Kids earn stickers for helping (without being asked) or going above and beyond to help and be kind to other kids or staff members. After a certain number of stickers, they are able to buy candies at the candy store.
COPS & FIRES
We are in talks with the IBESR, hoping to launch a “boot camp” type program for kids interested in potentially becoming a policeman or fireman. This program will be initiated by the law enforcement and IBESR. We want to get the law enforcement officials involved, in an effort to change the perceived relationship between the police and street kids.
Every Friday we offer free hair cuts to the kids. This is not limited to kids residing at the safe house. This helps keep lice and fungus break-outs at a minimum, and serves as a cost-savings to kids that would otherwise have to pay for this service.