When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.

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Last Wednesday on June 18th, Kay St. Germaine ended the school year with a wonderful farewell party for our two wonderful volunteers Liz Lawne and Kristine Kronin.

What a beautiful day we had! Children, parents and staff all found a way to show Liz and Kristine just how much they have brought to the the lives of all of us involved with children with disabilities. Children from Kay Christine, Kay Elaine and Kay St. Germaine proved once again that they know how to put on a party! Mothers and children were dressed in Sunday best and the place was a sea of smiling faces.

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Kristine and Liz

For the past two years Liz and Kristine have worked very hard to transform our school into a Special Needs School. Thanks to their love and their talents they have had brought our school to a first world standard and we are very proud of their work and very thankful for all they have done for us. We hate to say goodbye but we know they will continue to be in touch with us and will continue to help us with our work.

As I looked around last Wednesday, I felt so, so happy for all these kids and their parents. Because Kay St. Germaine is a beautiful place. The children receive wonderful care. Our school is a fantastic school, and we have a wonderful therapy program. The children bring out the best in each of us. Many of them come from tiny overcrowded rooms where there is not even room to put a wheelchair. Some are still in tents. Many are humiliated over and over again. Many Tap Taps (public transport) refuse to take a mother with her severely handicapped child. Many continue to have seizures because their parents cannot afford to buy the medicines to control the seizures. Many have brothers and sisters that go hungry so that mom can buy those medicines. Many have brothers and sisters that go hungry so they can eat well – very few families can afford more than one meal a day and yet somehow these mothers manage to take such good care of their special needs children! It is so easy to imagine the sacrifices being silently made all the time.

I have said it before and it’s worth saying it again: We are an Easter people, we are a people that believe we must always have hope that things can be better. From this hope comes the energy and the commitment to work hard, to move mountains, to make a beautiful program like Kay St. Germaine. We started this part of our work in 2004- with one child in the slum Wharf Jeremy. Surrounded by dirt and squalor, desperation and despair and with gunshots ringing in the air (it was just before Aristide left), we focused on one child and we dreamed of ways to reach so many more.

Our kids and their parents have lived through so many terrifying experiences and yet they dare to get up each morning and make the trek to our program because they dare to dream of a better life for their kids. Good for them! Many of these kids will NEVER utter one word, will NEVER take one step, will NEVER be independent. But you know what- the moms know that. The mom’s know what the kids have been saying (without words), that there is much, much more to life than listing all the things we can do. That the light within each of these beautiful children is a light that with little shelter and care, is strong enough and bright enough to guide each of us through the important things in life!

When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.

Contributed by Gena Heraty, Specials Needs Director

Photos credits: Gena Heraty and Liz Lawne

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