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An Update on the Art Creation Foundation for Children in Haiti

July 25, 2017 1 comment

The Art Creation Foundation for Children in Jacmel, Haiti is alive and well!  We have had a number of substantial grants over the past year, which have paid for the rent on our building and our food program, but we are facing a shortfall this summer for general operating expenses and for educational expenses (school fees, books, uniforms, shoes, backpacks) for our children when the new school year begins in August. Any help you can give us will be greatly appreciated!

Here is a link to a new video that outlines our services and the children who are part of our program.  In it, you can see some of the work created by the children in Jacmel and understand exactly how the dollars you donate are used by ACFFC. I urge you to help us help our children achieve a better life in a difficult country. We are proud in the knowledge that we are helping these children learn the skills that can help them to change their lives.

In this blog I have written about some of the children I worked with in photography workshops.  Here is an update on three of our young adults:

Bruno Rene has moved on to a position as art instructor on the staff of ACFFC. He recently took part in a countrywide painting competition for Sogebank where he rose up through the ranks.  He was a finalist to represent South East Haiti, one of three.  He then traveled to Port Au Prince to compete with artists from around the country, and ultimately won an honorable mention and an award of 75000 HTG (about $1200 US).  His work is currently for sale at a premier local art gallery in Jacmel where he has sold some of his larger pieces.

 

 

Michou Jouissant is now leader of the Mosaic Product Team – an important part of the ACFFC program. She is charged with team management, product development and quality control. A natural leader, she is the highest paid student intern and is performing work that will lead to jobs in the private sector in the future. The Haitian culture is very difficult for women with aspirations to move beyond service and caretaker roles. Michou has benefited from a special program within ACFFC devoted to the empowerment of our young women, giving them a voice and helping to build their confidence and self-esteem where they learn to speak up and take on leadership roles.

 

 

Fedno Lubin has two more years in high school, where he is a star student and has learned fluency in English. He is a part-time student intern at the foundation, and the official ACFFC photographer. He has created his own photography business and is in demand as a photographer of communions, weddings and baptisms in the Jacmel area, and has developed a line of postcards that he sells to hotels and tourists.

 

 

Please help us create more success stories! Donations can be made through our website or PayPal

Or they can be sent to:

Art Creation Foundation For Children

14113 Drakes’ Point Drive

Jacksonville, FL 32224

Every penny you donate will be used with care.  Thanking you in advance!

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Heartening Reviews for Love & War!

September 10, 2015 Leave a comment

Although I edited my book, Love & War:  The World War II Letters of Arthur Smook primarily for my family, the story is really interesting, so I sent a press release to a number of people and publications.  I am thrilled to share two reviews with you:

The first appeared in the August 10, 2015 edition of the Register-Star Newspaper, written by Katie Kocijanski;  and the second in the on line publication of the New York Book Society, written by Catherine Kirkpatrick.  Both are really thoughtful discussions of the book and I am grateful for the care taken by the writers.

Here are a few more of the photographs in the book:

Dad_with_plane_9-5-45_webMy dad in postwar France

 My mom_ n her Red Cross Women's Motor Corps Uniform webMy mom in her Red Cross Women’s Motor Corps Uniform

January 8, 1946January 8, 1945

iPhone in the Snow

February 7, 2014 2 comments

We have had a snowy winter here in NYC.  It was messy underfoot on Monday, but beautiful above, so I took out my iPhone and began to capture what I saw:

Broadway and 95th Street

Broadway and 95th Street

On the way to the subway.

On the way to the subway.

Subway entrance on Broadway and 96th Street.

Subway entrance on Broadway and 96th Street.

View from The Ground Floor Pilates studio.

View from The Ground Floor Pilates studio.

Later, outside of CVS at 96th and Amsterdam Ave.

Later, outside of CVS at 96th and Amsterdam Ave.

Photo Album: Post #5 Jacmel 2013

June 14, 2013 1 comment

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Here are a few that might fill in the blanks left by my reporting:

The fact that Art Creation Foundation for Children offers three meals a day to its youth is very very important.  Here is where money for food goes:

Sorting beans for lunch

Sorting beans for lunch

Kids enjoying lunch.

Enjoying lunch

4-13-4_212 ©DSmook

Dining area

Dining area

And here are more photographs of what the children are learning and accomplishing:

Mosaic vases

Mosaics are used to create vases out of bottles.

Another shot of the photography group.

Another shot of the photography group.

Students doing homework after school.

Students doing homework after school.

Group working on papier mache projects.

Group working on papier mache projects.

The work is painted.

The work is painted.

Paper can be glued to a mask base.

Paper can be glued to a mask base.

A fabulous mask

A fabulous mask

A colorful vase.

A colorful vase.

The showroom in our new building.

The showroom in our new building.

A mosaic design begins with a sketch.

A mosaic design begins with a sketch.

The mosaic pieces are cut and glued to mesh.

The mosaic pieces are cut and glued to mesh.

The tiles are cemented to the wall.

The tiles are cemented to the wall.

Grout is added when the wall is complete.

Grout is added when the wall is complete.

You can see how the children’s imagination and skills have evolved in these images.  And they are so proud of their work!

ACFFC will celebrate its tenth anniversary as a 501c3 corporation later this year.  This milestone is the perfect time for us to reflect on the amazing achievements of the past decade and move ahead on plans for the future.  A future that looks very promising for the Art Creation Foundation for Children youth!

4-13-2_168 ©DSmook

Papouche: Painter, Dancer, Carpenter: Post #3 Jacmel, Haiti 2013

Papouche is a gentle giant.  He was one of the first people I met on my visit to the Art Creation Foundation for Children last year, and was a tremendous help to me this year.

His was a difficult upbringing in Port au Prince in a home for street children, where Jen Pantaleon of Zanmi Lakay first met him and began to work with him in 1997.  Even in that environment, Papouche made many friends because of his integrity, his respect for himself and others, and his wonderful smile.

In 2000 when the group home closed Papouche was back on the street.  Jen was glad to find him again the following year at yet another group home.  He was able to take part in Zanmi Lakay programs learning carpentry, and was sent back to school.  He is very intelligent.  He is also a fabulous dancer.

After the house in Port au Prince where he was living collapsed in the earthquake, Papouche was invited to move to Jacmel and become a part of the Art Creation Foundation for Children.  He is older than most of the youth, but was not yet able to earn enough to live on his own.  It was not an easy transition, but he has blossomed at the foundation.

He has become involved in a dance troupe that performs in the annual Karneval parades and is now teaching dance.  He has learned to paint both on a small scale,

4-13-4_090 for blog

and on a large scale.

4-13-6_092

He has used his carpentry skills to rebuild homes for ACFFC families, and to great advantage in the new building.  These are cubicles he has constructed in the new computer room.

4-13-5_021 computer room

Papouche is a leader with the mosaic team and visiting groups, and works on assignments for Zanmi Lakat.  He is earning a salary and respect, making friends, and his life has changed dramatically.  He has worked hard and, despite the obstacles, is making a productive and satisfying life for himself.

4-13-4_096 for blog

He is a wonderful role model for the younger children!

The Challenges Facing Women in Haiti: Post #2 Jacmel, Haiti 2013

May 25, 2013 1 comment

Haiti is a male-dominated Society.  Ergo, during my 2013 trip to the Art Creation Foundation for Children in Jacmel, Judy asked me to host a dinner for three of the teenage girls that have shown leadership ability.  Nynedia and Sheldine, sisters, were working with me in the photography workshop.

4-13-4_076 for web

Michou, who is a leader of the mosaic product team also  joined us.  We didn’t take photos in the restaurant, but here is a link to a beautiful short film about her prior work in photography made by Kuba, a colleague of Jen and Guy Pantaleon of Zanmi Lakay.

Ironically, also joining us were Georges and Vladimir, the two male directors of the Foundation in Haiti, who were needed to translate.  To their credit, they were not intimidated!

The story I shared:  I resolved upon graduating from college, and opting not to continue to graduate school, to find an interesting job that did not involve typing for others.  This, for a woman in 1968, was easier said than done.  I was a polite person, so I ended up taking a lot of typing tests for a lot of jobs that I would never take.  Finally, I ended up as a researcher at WNET, the public television station in New York.  That led to a job with a film company as a production assistant, then production manager and finally, producer.  I had a lot of challenges and adventures along the way.  There were very very few women doing those jobs at that time.  I had to fight for recognition, for assignments and for equal salary.  I recounted some of these situations and how I managed to achieve my objectives.  The girls were fascinated.

I even told them stories of my grandmother’s childhood in the early 1900’s and how she managed, as an immigrant child in New York, to learn English with no accent, and then how her father forced her to quit school in 8th grade.  She took, and then after a few days quit, a menial job in a garment factory, put her hair up to look older, and through a neighbor got a job in an office.  She realized that bookkeeping would not be very difficult for her, and used her first paycheck to enroll in a bookkeeping class.  Her father almost threw her out for not bringing him the money.  Within a year she made more money than he did.  Later, she and my grandfather built a business of their own.  She was a 50% partner, which also involved a struggle.  This reminded the girls of life in Haiti.

My grandmother is standing on the right.

My grandmother is standing on the right.

 

The point of the discussion:  You can’t be intimidated when you have a goal.  Especially if you are a woman!

The girls had many questions about whether I had boyfriends, when I married, had children, etc.  We all agreed that life is complicated, but that you have to believe in yourself.

These young women are future leaders in Haiti.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one of them could one day head the Foundation in Haiti and be a role model for the next generation?

 

Happy Holidays to All!

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I am beginning to relax now, as gifts and cards are wrapped and addressed and on their way.  I would like to share some of the cards I have sent over the past few years.

This magic moment occurred early one morning when we woke up to a fresh snowfall.  In my robe, I ran for my 6×7 film camera and shuffled out to the patio to take this photograph before the snow melted or blew away.  Within a half hour, this beautiful scene had become ordinary.

During the next couple of years,  I was busy building a portfolio of color botanicals and used images that seemed seasonal in color and feeling, although shot during the summer.

This red poppy was a particular hit.

And this clematis looked to me like it could decorate a Christmas tree.

This year I had a lucky break.   After a blizzard last December, I took a walk and photographed this snowy scene (and blogged about it).  I could relax all year knowing that I had this wonderful image in my library.

With these images I wish you all a Joyous Holiday and a Happy and a Healthy New Year!