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The Jacmel Children’s Center is open!

We’re pleased to bring you the following guest post by Random Acts Co-Founder Misha Collins:

Four years ago, in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake, I asked you guys to take a leap of faith with me and pitch in to help build a children’s center for the community of Jacmel, Haiti. Random Acts didn’t have much of a track record back then – all we had were some architectural drawings and a big dream – but you leapt.

Schematic Design

We fundraised for the Jacmel Children’s Center with great gusto that first year, but I’m not sure we quite knew what we were getting ourselves into until we went to Haiti in person. This is what the site looked like in 2011: rocks and rubble everywhere, and part of a broken truck in the corner. It couldn’t have been further from the beautiful children’s center we’d pictured, but we did what we could, bought boots for the workers, and settled in for the long haul.

2011

And what a long haul it’s been. We fundraised for three years in a row, funneled almost $500,000 into the center, took three trips to Jacmel, and completed construction in 2013, but even then we were far from the finish line. There were subsequently a number of setbacks ranging from Bonite needing back surgery to a mosquito virus putting almost the whole crew out of commission to various delays in getting electrical systems in place.

Students who were freshmen in college when we began this journey are graduating, the world almost ended (when, in 2012, we came to the end of the Mayan calendar) but didn’t, a new pope was elected, smart people landed a probe on a comet, a lot of grass has grown (and been cut), and a lot of paint has dried.

And now we can finally say: We did it!

The Jacmel Children’s Center is officially open! Ten kids live there already, and more will start moving in next week.

Kids at the JCC

Kids at the JCC    Kids at the JCC

Dormitory    Dining room

The Jacmel Children's Center

It’s been an epic journey. Thank you to project leaders Lisa and Philip Schneider and to everyone who joined us:

Alexandra Chuzo
Alice Reininger
Aliya Siddiqi
Andrea Niessen
Becky McGrath
Bianca Nera
Carrie Reisser
Catherine Hay
Christine Peters
Colin Ferguson
Deidre Murch
Demi Harman
Drew Whatman
Elwyn Zabrina Way
Emily Reeves
Gabriel Jacob
Grace McKinnon
Hanna Hagenmalm
Hannah Milton
Jane Ray
Jason Manns
Jennifer Ackerman
Jennifer Dorner
Jessica Meirs
Jo West
Julie Yip
Kate Benz
Katherine Bullock
Katie Bohdel
Kerry Morrow
Kimberly Richardson
Kristine Lu
Laura Prudom
Lexi Tanen
Lisa Walker
Mia Shaffer
Nicole Edson
Nicole Sporer
Rachel Jack
Rae Stevenson
Rebecca Cross
Robbie Lawrence
Robin Sussman
Rochelle Benson
Sarah Miller
Sarah Parsons
Savannah Scaffe
Shunda Lee
Sierra White
Stephanie Durning
Terri Samuels
Vanesha Gya

and hundreds of other fundraisers and donors. You guys made this happen. Thanks for leaping.