|Raleigh Jenkins, founder of A Child's H.O.P.E., lends a hand on a relief trip to Haiti.|
HOUSTON — Before the devastating January 2010 earthquake Haiti’s orphan population was estimated at 380,000. Following the disaster, experts have raised the number to double that or even higher.
For Raleigh Jenkins, president of ABC Home & Commercial Services in Houston, Texas, Haiti has been a journey of highs and lows, but one he feels is far from complete.
Jenkins became involved with Haiti after joining other members of the National Pest Management Association on multiple trips to Haiti to provide much needed pest management services to hospitals and orphanages following the earthquake.
His involvement in the relief work inspired Jenkins, his family and close friends and business associates to continue the journey of creating a brighter future for Haiti’s orphans by establishing A Child’s H.O.P.E.
The mission of A Child’s H.O.P.E. is to provide a safe, loving and supportive home for the abandoned children of Haiti. The facility will give more than 300 children an opportunity to live in a family-style living environment that will differ sharply from the traditional orphanages of this Caribbean country where children as young as nine years old are left to fend for themselves.
“This is not just another orphanage where kids are only fed and housed,” said Jenkins. “Our goal is to provide an environment aimed at giving kids a real shot at life in an educational, vocational, recreational, and spiritual way.”
|Dylan Jenkins visits with children during a recent trip to Haiti.|
The facility will accept children in groups of 20 or 30 to start, and feature education, athletic and medical facilities to create an “academy” feel for the children. Jenkins said plans call for the children to be raised in family units ranging in age from infants to late teens, and the facility will have a full-time staff of teachers, counselors, agriculture experts and medical professionals who live at the facility.
“We want to make the facility self-sustaining and teach the children how to eventually support themselves,” said Jenkins. “We plan on doing our own farming and ranching, and establishing a jewelry and craft business to create additional means of support.”
Jenkins hopes to have shovels in the ground soon for the facility but is now focused on fundraising efforts. A series of fund raisers will be held across Texas and Jenkins plans on appealing to the entire pest management industry for their support as well.
A Child’s H.O.P.E. has established a website – www.achildshope.org – to keep the industry informed on the progress of the project and for information on how to get involved.
Based in Houston, Texas, A Child’s H.O.P.E. is a non-profit organization focused on providing a better future for the children and country of Haiti.