Yanique Edmond-Pierre wrote -
It has been 5 years since a tragic earthquake shook apart the lives of Haitians, young and old. As a Haitian living in the US, I still remember and feel the loss as if it was yesterday. The anxiety and inconsolable pain of not knowing if my brother, cousins, and 100 year old aunt were alive for days on end. Then finally slowly finding out how many of our family in Port-au-Prince we had lost, and how many in both Jacmel and Port-au-Prince were homeless. As one of the few Haitian volunteers from the US that was allowed to serve in the first few weeks following the earthquake, the sharing of the grief and stories of survival bolstered not only our spirits in the makeshipt clinics, but also our sense of hope. We held on to the Haitian proverb that "lespwa fe viv" - Hope makes one live. In July 2015, the youth of TYA plan to travel to Haiti in remembrance of not only the loss, but also of the hope and generosity that has emerged. The youth will connect with other Haitian and Caribbean youth to explore violence prevention and positive change. They will visit and perform at schools; volunteer at orphanages in Port-au-Prince where children of all ages that lost their parents in the earthquake now call home; they will collaborate with two youth groups in Jacmel to learn and share stories of resilience; and they will honor elder community members. Through dance, music, poetry, and service they hope to build meaningful relationships that will give artistic voice to the personal and community trauma experienced by the youth in Haiti.
The goal is to facilitate this connection by funding the travel for all youth members of TYA. We know this is an ambitious goal but believe it is achievable with support from caring friends, family members, and organizations.
The Taratibu Youth Association (TYA) is a young people's performing arts company that uses the arts and community service to inspire hope, healing, cultural pride, and positive social change. Since 2007, TYA performers, age 10 - 21, have shared the messages of faith, self-respect, personal responsibility, and resilience with schools, churches, and other community organizations.
The youth are actively engaged in rigorous weekly training in African, ballet, and modern dance, vocals, and theater. They also participate in monthly team building and leadership workshops, health and wellness group sessions, college preparation, and community building activities. All while maintaining a 3.0 and above grade point average.
A very admirable youth champion, Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool of South Africa, once said that all adults are called to stand in the gap for our vulnerable youth in order to help them dream towards a better future and a better world. As adults we know that dreams are a manifestation of what we ALREADY experienced. As a supporter of Taratibu Youth Association and a youth advocate, I understand that each one of us MUST do all we can to give youth those positive experiences that will fire their dreams. I am asking that you join me in providing this experience.
Every donation to Taratibu Youth Association helps these young performing artists fulfill the dream of connecting with other vulnerable youth in Haiti to share resilient stories of toughness, perseverance, hope and healing.