Alternative Spring Break 2012 - Haiti
Howard University > Alternative Spring Break 2012

HU Students Forgo Spring Break to Better Lives in Haiti

HAITI – No stranger to community service, Phelishia Midy, Howard University Alternative Spring Break (ASB) 2012 Haiti Co-Site Coordinator, finds the importance in returning to Haiti for another year of charity.

Midy is a descendant of community activism.  Her mother, who is a nurse at the Woodland Hospital in Brooklyn, NY and her father, who serves as a supervisor at the Port Authority in New York and New Jersey, have shaped a well-rounded individual.    

Midy participated in various organizations and outreach programs in her hometown, East Meadow, NY.  She attended East Meadow High School where she received honors such as The Children of Hope Award 2008 for raising the most funds for charity, French Honor Society 2009 and National Honor Society 2009.  She trained young children in dance technique and performed in nursing homes for the elderly with the June Claire Dance Studio; she participated in the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) during Thanksgiving 2010 to assist in feeding hungry families in Long Island and attended the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

In 2011, Midy, Howard University Junior Economics major, was only a participant of Howard University’s student-run, student-financed Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program. However, she gained so much knowledge and experience that she insisted on sharing it with the people of Haiti for another year as Site Coordinator.

“My first year at ASB was an eye-opener.  I didn’t notice that we had so many cultural differences until I got a chance to see it with my own eyes.  They are really struggling over there; but through their situations, they still push through,” said Midy. “It was also very humbling to see how much they value education.”

“In Haiti, we worked with the local orphanage across the street, L’ecole Bon Samaritan, where we taught their students English and Math.  We also conducted entrepreneurship workshops with the children of the Haitian American Caucus, a movement to improve the lives of the Haitian-American community and its allies,” said Midy.  “We helped to reconstruct one of the walls near the school that was knocked down during the 2011 earthquake.”

“Since I had been previously involved in community service at home, it wasn’t hard for me to find ASB.  I wanted to share and open greater opportunities for people like the ones I was exposed to,” said Midy.  “I had to look at it from the eyes of the Haitian people.  What do they want or need?”        

Each year, more than 300 students from Howard travel to cities across the United States and Haiti.  This year, they will travel to New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Washington to help underserved communities.  This year will be the second year that students will be working in Haiti, which also marks the second year for Midy. There is much to do because the country is still reeling from the 2010 earthquake that killed scores and left tens of thousands homeless.

Instead of carrying on at the beaches of Miami or Cancun, Mexico, like the rest of her classmates, Phelishia Midy has decided that there is a bigger task to be completed during her March spring break.  She will be restoring lives and recovering homes in the affected areas of Haiti. 

“The people of Haiti still have high hopes and through it all stay spiritual.  They were happy and continue to push through their situations,” said Midy. “That is what made me want to come back; their strength to succeed was inspirational.”

Midy will take on the role as Haiti Co-Site Coordinator this year where she is anxiously waiting to see what changes have been made to the affected cities and to offer her services and support.

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