BENEFITING: PAUL MEYERS FOUNDATION
It has been five years since the earthquake that devestated Haiti. Prior to this disater, there were some 400,000 orphans in the country. The estimates are now over 500,000 in a country of only 10 million. Melissa's Place is an orphanage that is being built in a small hamlet called Georgette, 35 miles from Jeremy, Haiti. Melissa's Place will house 16 girls initially, ages 6 to 12. This project is the inspiration of a Catholic Priest by the name of Father Garry of Jeremy. This is the third orphanage that he will have built. I came to know Father Garry on my last trip to Haiti. I visited the site and met the children that will live in the orphanage. In addition to this project he oversees another orphanage of 100 boys and girls located in Jeremy where he serves as a full-time Priest. The new orphanage is named after my daughter, Melissa Lynn Shelly. She and her husband, Dylan, were killed in a car wreck ten years ago. Fortunately, their three year old son survived the accident. He has thrived with the care of loving grandparents and family. Melissa's Place will be a tribute to his mom and dad and will provide a safe and nurturing place for some children that are not as fortunate as him. Enough money has already been raised to purchase uniforms (a Haitian requirement) and school supplies so that the girls can began attending school while the orphanage is being built. Father Garry's philosopy is to teach the children to fish instead of giving them fish. He has done this in previous projects to the extent that the orphanages have almost become self-supporting, and in doing so, the children learn skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.