The 2012 New Year at Rubicon headquarters began with two inspiring visitors. We were fortunate and honored to host Jean-François Seide of Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos International (NPH) a key organizer of Haiti’s Angels of Light program, and Vicky Medley, the International Volunteer Coordinator for Friends of the Orphans. Friends of the Orphans is one of the organizations the Foundation worked with to plan our team’s visit to Haiti in 2011.
Vicky shared with us her organization’s work in Haiti as well as the early history and story of its founding by Father Wasson. She set the stage for a presentation by Jean-Francois Seide who grew up with the support of the Friends of the Orphans home in Haiti, and who stepped up after the earthquake to organize the Angels of Light program.
Jean-François Seide quickly captured the hearts of everyone at Rubicon as he shared his journey. Now 23 years old, Jean-Francois first arrived with his brother at age seven at the Nos Petits Frères et Sœurs (NPFS) orphanage, a home for orphaned and abandoned children in Kenscoff, Haiti. Jean François attended elementary and middle school in the NPFS home and continued on with high school courses through their external program.
Jean-François had just started the second semester of his final year of school when the earthquake hit in 2010. With his own home destroyed, he returned to NPFS to help as he had been helped since he was seven. During the first days after the disaster, he worked day and night at the St. Damien hospital as a radiology technician for victims of the earthquake.
Two months later, Jean-Francois helped lead the Father Wasson Angels of Light program (FWAL) for vulnerable and displaced children. Initially a day camp for children of the “tent cities,” Angels of Light has grown to focus on the educational needs of the 800 students currently served by the program.
Jean François currently lives in Seattle and is participating in the NPH Leadership Program, a pilot leadership and language study program at a local area college sponsored by Friends of the Orphans.