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My, How Time Flies!

A Note From Mary Kwasniewski, MFOF Executive Director

When I was younger, I always thought it was strange when adults said “Time flies!” Now as an older adult myself, I say it all the time, including this month when I was reminded that I’ve been part of the Maison Fortune family for more than four years! Wow, time flies!

Mary K. with Mama

Ashley Horner, Jean Louis, Mary K.

Jean Louis and Mary K.

Oday was nine when I started and now he’s thirteen years old, in the sixth grade and growing a little taller each time I visit. Gilberson was in fifth grade; he’s now in ninth grade and an amazing math whiz! Mary Denise was in eleventh grade and now she is studying to be a nurse at University Notre Dame in Hinche. Tchi Tchi was the “new boy” four years ago – one of the first boys I met when I arrived. He is now in the third grade and so many new boys and girls have followed behind him.

Mary K. and Oday

Mary K. and Gilberson

Mary K. and Mary Denise

Mary K. and Tchi Tchi

In the process of working with Jean Louis to move our children to a better future, I often find myself thinking about priorities. We can’t fund everything. We can’t be everything these kids need. So I think, if we can just do one thing, what should be the one thing we do for Haiti’s future leaders?

We should give them hope.

Hope is what Maison Fortune cultivates. We don’t make the kids smarter; we don’t make them faster or stronger. But we do take away fear. Fear of where the next meal is coming from. Fear that they won’t be able to go to school. Fear that they won’t have a safe place to sleep that night. We take away the fear and doubt and replace it with hope, so they can learn, play and grow. Like kids are supposed to do.

Time flies — Haiti’s leaders are coming — don’t miss out — become a part of it! I hope you will join us!

Give Hope Today!  

Maison FortunéMy, How Time Flies!
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We Need Help: Girls Campus – Septic System Repair Project

Last week we had an unforeseen event at MFO — our Girls Campus septic system failed. The system that was in place was not built to handle the number of girls we currently have at MFO. This system failure has impacted the lives of the girls and the staff at the campus. We started immediately to build an additional septic system, but this is a new, unexpected expense, and we simply don’t have the resources to solve this problem on our own.

 WE NEED YOUR HELP! The cost to repair the septic system is $10,000 – or only $111 per girl!  With your help we can make sure our girls have a safe and sanitary place to call home and become Haiti’s future leaders!

We are asking all of you once again if you or someone you know can please help us repair the septic system for the girls. On behalf of all our girls we are once again counting on your generosity and thank you in advance for you willingness to help with this worthy cause. You can donate DIRECTLY to the Septic Repair Project using the donation form below.

Background Information

In early 2008 the leaders of Maison Fortune Orphanage opened the doors for 10 girls affected by adverse situations in the community. In Haiti, the education of girls is often viewed as a secondary priority — at MFO we wanted to set the example that girls are Leaders too! In 2013, as our girl population grew we permanently moved to the location we now call the Girls Campus. Today at MFO we care for 90 girls, we have added new space for beds, purchased more mattresses and maintained the facility with new paint and concrete repairs.

When you have the comforts of a home and fresh meals each day, it’s easy to forget that many people around the world do not. Our children at MFO have many needs, and we work diligently to manage, monitor and allocate the funds that come from our supporters to the most critical projects to ensure the safety and welfare of our children. Sometimes, however, just like at your home — life can throw you some curveballs!

Please Donate to the Septic Repair Project

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Maison FortunéWe Need Help: Girls Campus – Septic System Repair Project
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Ashley Horner’s 50 Ironman Journey Starts Aug. 12

We’re thrilled to share the press release below about Ashley Horner’s latest efforts to support the Maison Fortuné Orphanage in Haiti!

ASHLEY HORNER EMBARKS ON JOURNEY TO COMPLETE 50 IRONMANS IN 50 DAYS FOR THE MAISON FORTUNE ORPHANAGE

Ashley Horner To Become First Woman to Complete 50 Ironmans in 50 Days to Raise Awareness and Funds For the Children of Haiti

New York, NY – July 30, 2018 – On August 12, Ashley Horner, a fitness celebrity, athlete, entrepreneur and mom of three, will begin her journey to be the first woman to complete 50 full Ironmans in 50 days to raise awareness and funds for the Maison Fortuné Orphanage (MFO) in Haiti. Ashley will start and end in Haiti and travel to each of the 48 Continental United States, each day completing a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride and 26.2-mile run, with the goal to raise $100,000 for MFO.

“Fitness is the driving force of everything I do and feel like it’s my responsibility to use my platform for a bigger purpose, a purpose for good,” said Ashley Horner “I fell in love with the people of Haiti the first time I visited – their spirit, storytelling, and pride for being Haitian will inspire me as I do my small part for the children at Maison Fortuné,”

The MFO Foundation raises funds to support the Maison Fortuné Orphanage in Haiti, serving the needs of orphans and underprivileged children. Each day, MFO, serves more than 700 meals, teaches more than 300 children and provides stable homes for close to 200 boys and girls. Ashley recently began working with MFO and has visited the orphanage many times with her own children. In 2017, Ashley raised $65,000 for the foundation by completing a 230-mile run along the western border of Haiti.

“Maison Fortuné is proud to have Ashley Horner as a partner and friend, as she embarks upon her endeavor to complete 50 Ironmans in 50 Days,” says Lefort Jean-Louis, founder of MFO. “Ashley continues to put her commitment to our children into action, and like Ashley, we believe that the power for change comes from community.”

Ashley is no stranger to pushing boundaries. She played soccer on the Guam national team, has sold over one million copies of her fitness training programs and owns American Sled Dogs, a fitness facility in Virginia Beach, VA. In-between her entrepreneurial endeavors and raising her three boys, Ashley has completed many other charity fitness events to benefit families of fallen military members, police working dogs and victims of human trafficking. In the last year and a half, Ashley has completed a 1,350 mile bike ride, climbed Mt. Rainer and ran 230 miles in 72 hours, all for charity.

Ashley’s journey begins on August 12 and ends on October 4 in Haiti. To donate to Ashley’s fundraising initiative click here and to learn more about Ashley visit www.ashleyhorner.co.

Maison FortunéAshley Horner’s 50 Ironman Journey Starts Aug. 12
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Ashley Horner Plans New Fundrasier

We are constantly amazed by MFO partner, friend, and donor Ashley Horner.  Since she first started helping our orphanage she has been a fearless champion of the MFO kids, developing relationships with the boys and girls, as well as the entire Hinche community.  If you’ve followed the MFO story over the past few years, you know Ashley sets big goals, and then crushes them!

In the Spring of 2017 she ran ​230 miles ​miles around the western border of Haiti, planning to raise $28,000. But Ashley never shirks a challenge, so when the $28,000 goal was reached during the run, she doubled-down and increased the goal to $56,000!  Seventy-two hours after starting, Ashley and her supporters had crushed the new goal and raised over $64,000!

Her involvement is more than raising money, though. Ashley is committed to our MFO community.  She believes in our efforts, whether it’s welcoming children from the community to attend our primary school or making sure we lift up the local economy by shopping locally for items we need to support the children.  She knows we are raising the future leaders of Haiti and through her repeat visits (including with her own boys), she has seen the need first hand and knows that local involvement is crucial to the orphanage’s success.  She also understands that a little money goes a long way, and a lot of funding can go even farther.

“I fell in love with the people of Haiti the first time I touched down.  Their spirit, their storytelling, their sense of identity around being Haitian.  It will inspire me as I do my small part to bring awareness and funds to create opportunities for the children at Maison Fortune,” said Ashely.

So this year when Ashley said she wanted to do another fundraiser, we knew she would go all-in. And is she ever!  Soon Ashley will launch a 50-day warrior woman effort – completing 50 Ironman challenges in 50 days, to raise money for the children of Maison Fortune.  It’s a Herculean challenge – one that is already receiving national attention, including a feature on USA Today.  We couldn’t be prouder of Ashley, or more appreciative of her commitment to the children and future of Haiti.

Look for more news about the Woman of Iron in the coming weeks!

Maison FortunéAshley Horner Plans New Fundrasier
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We’re Off To A Great Start!

unnamed-1This time of the year not only is a time for celebrating but also the time to welcome VISITORS to our campus. This is a key part to our success and our ability to keep offering the services we do. When our story becomes your story we all win!

The orphanage becomes a second home to individuals reaching out to learn more about our mission to larger groups that are seeking an organization to help.The MFO boys and girls cherish the love and time volunteers spend with them during this season. Personal experiences lead to the best stories and we are thankful that upon returning to the states so many of you share our story with others!

We have many plans in store for 2018:

· assisting in the successful graduation of 5 MFO Alumni completing their senior year in college,

· renewing our commitment to education for our primary school ensuring we continue our high standards,

· and we will begin to look at ways to reach out into the community to make sure children that don’t need to be in our care can be placed back with family members or other primary care givers.

With all of this on our plate we also will continue to work to meet the daily needs of food, shelter and security for all of those in our care. The help of volunteers who bring not only their time and love but also supplies of clothing, hygiene items and toys this work is not only possible it is happening every day! We are so thankful for our community and we look forward to 2018 – our 18th year of service together to the Haitian Community!

Maison FortunéWe’re Off To A Great Start!
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Graduation Day: December 3, 2017 – University of Notre Dame Haiti

Haiti is a complicated country with complicated problems, but fortunately, the answer to this question is simple.   Focus on educating Haiti’s youth.  Educating the children – young and old of Haiti is the single most important thing that Maison Fortune does—period.   If Haiti’s circumstances are ever going to change then it’s the educated Haitian youth that will drive that change. We firmly believe that the education these young people receive with the support of the MFO Foundation will make a difference in their lives and their communities.

On December 3, 2017, we had the privilege of watching our very own MFO residents receive their diplomas from the University of Notre Dame Haiti. Take a minute to listen to one of our graduates. Johnny Metellus came to Maison Fortuné Orphanage as a small boy, and on December 3, 2017, he was part of the first ever graduating class of students in the University Notre Dame Haiti”s Medical Biology program! It is because of supporters like you that we are able to open these doors of opportunity for students like Johnny.

Video and Photos: MFOF Volunteer Photographer and Videographer Eva Fuze

 

Maison FortunéGraduation Day: December 3, 2017 – University of Notre Dame Haiti
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Hurricane Irma Update: Sept 8

September 8 Update: We are happy to report that MFO has come through the storm unharmed! School will resume today and with minor clean up it will be hard to tell a hurricane has passed. We are very fortunate – with just a small change in the path we could be giving a very different update. Please join us now as we pray for those in the advancing path of Irma and thank you for the thinking of us and inquiring. We are always touched to receive your notes of encouragement and love.

—————

September 6 Update: Hurricane Irma — now a Category 5 — is gaining force as it approaches the U.S. and we pray it steers clear of our tiny nation of Haiti. Haiti was devastated by the earthquake of 2010, and was hit yet again last fall by Hurricane Matthew. While most American cities have considerable time and resources to help them find safe shelter to weather the storm, a hurricane of this magnitude, with winds up to 180mph, would be catastrophic to Haiti’s fragile infrastructure if it makes landfall. Please keep Haiti and everyone in #HurricaneIrma’s path in your thoughts this week!

You can see our most current updates on our Facebook page, here.

Maison FortunéHurricane Irma Update: Sept 8
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It’s Time for the Tap Tap Craft Beer Festival

It’s time again for the Tap Tap Craft Beer Festival in Chesapeake, VA – our third annual fundraising event to support The Maison Fortuné Orphanage Foundation. The event is Saturday, August 19th from 2-7 pm at Greenbrier Farms, rain or shine.  This year’s tickets are going fast, so if you haven’t already purchased yours, don’t wait – we may not have them at the gate!

The Tap Tap Festival features unlimited free samples of over 30 beers. Food from your popular regional food trucks and entertainment brought to you by two of your favorite bands – BJ Griffin and Galaxy Groove AND Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos!  Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Maison FortunéIt’s Time for the Tap Tap Craft Beer Festival
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Meet A Future Leader of Haiti – Exilien Jean

Meet Exilien Jean.  He came to MFO in 2000, when he was just 9 years old.  His mother was still living but unable to care for him once his father passed away. He was welcomed into our family as one of the very first children and now thanks MFO every day for the opportunities he has had and continues to have.

Exilien is now finishing up his third year at the University of Notre Dame Hinche and will graduate next year from the Medical Technology program. He will be completing an internship this fall in Port au Prince and hopes to work in a laboratory setting once he graduates. After high school, our students move off campus and live on their own. While he found this transition hard at first, he was thankful he had the life skills to be out on his own and has now grown to enjoy his independence and his studies. Exilien continues to be involved with our younger boys, helping out between his classes as he can. On the weekends, he can often be found sharing his computer with the younger boys, teaching them to use the computer and showing them tools to help study math and english. He is a shining example of what it looks like to “pay it forward.”  He embodies the opportunity we strive to create. Exilien’s dream is to one day own a plot of land and begin to start his own family. All of this is only possible with the ongoing support from donors like you.

Can you commit to helping to support a child like Exilien create a better future for themselves? With a recurring monthly donation of $25 or more, you can provide tangible resources for our children that will open doors for them and allow their dreams to become a reality.

Maison FortunéMeet A Future Leader of Haiti – Exilien Jean
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