Birthday: April 23, 1993
Sponsorship #: 2017-00-102J

Jeff has an interesting story. At 23 years old, he is the oldest student in our sponsorship program, and he is still in elementary school. Most young people would have given up on school by now, but Jeff is determined to get his education and he refuses to be intimidated by the others in his school being so much younger than him. Haitian schools are a little different anyway in that it is not unusual for an 18 year old to be in the sixth grade because many don’t get to start school until later in life, and many also have to sit out of school years at a time so siblings can take turns going. For Jeff, his education began when he was 9 years old. When Jeff was a young boy, his parents split up. He moved down to the southern part of Haiti and lived with his aunt after his parents split. His aunt nor his parents could afford to send him to school. Finally when he was almost 9, he moved to Leoganne to live with his mother and he began school because there was a sponsored school there. Jeff struggled in school because he could not read and the other kids his age could. He was also bitter about the conflicts in his home in the past. He failed a few times, and fought to stay in school, but by the time he was 13, he decided to quit going. In 2010, when the earthquake hit, he was outside, down the street from his house, hanging out with friends. As the earth started shaking, he started running towards his house. Buildings all around him began to fall to the ground. He screamed for his mother as he approached his house and watched it crumbled to pieces. His mother was inside. Jeff and his older sister struggled to put their lives back together after the earthquake, but his sister did better than he did. He sank into a depression and continued to stay out of school. Eventually his sister got married and his brother-in-law started talking to him about the importance of an education. Jeff’s brother-in-law is our minister of music, Odlin Pierre. Odlin offered to let Jeff come live with them here in Galette Chambon at Hope Center and Jeff has been so very thankful for a second chance. He is now a Christian, active member of the church here, has good, healthy friendships, and has been given an opportunity to go to school. They started him in 6th grade so he can review some before moving on to the high school. He is excited that he will be able to move on to the high school next year. He understands why he had to start with 6th though, and even though he is as old as some of the teachers there, he is thankful for this second chance. He likes to see himself as an example and mentor in the school now. He has hopes and dreams now, and he knows God has a purpose for what he has been through and for his future.