Returned Peace Corps
Volunteers of South Florida

April, 2024

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, the situation in Port-au-Prince has not improved substantially over the past few weeks. Of the three universities HELP works with, two are holding classes entirely online and one has suspended operations until students can attend in-person. Thanks to the reliable electricity and internet at the HELP Center, HELP students are able to follow their online classes together in the HELP classrooms. Additionally, the three courses that HELP provides as part of the scholarship (two years of introductory computer skills, and four years each of English language, and citizenship & leadership) are still delivered in-person at the HELP Center, as most HELP instructors are still able to commute to the Center daily.

Unfortunately, despite our ability to continue to provide our students with the opportunity to keep learning under difficult circumstances, we have not been totally spared the effects of the gang violence. Over the past two years, several staff members and their families have been forced to leave their homes as their neighborhoods came under gang control. This has accelerated in recent weeks and we are offering staff and their families temporary housing on the HELP campus.

While some employees have had to leave their homes, others have been unable to reach them. HELP Country Director Garry Delice has been in New York City since his return flight to Haiti was canceled following the suspension of all flights to and from Port-au-Prince, now in its fourth week. We took advantage of Garry’s presence to visit one of HELP’s very first students, Dr. Florenal Joseph PhD, now a Research Assistant Professor of Pathology and the Assistant Director of the Cytometry & Cell Sorting Lab at NYU’s Langone Division of Advanced Research Technologies. It was inspiring to see what an impact students can have when given the opportunity and support they deserve.


Ten days ago we held our second (of three) general assemblies that are scheduled each school year. Over 200 staff and students were on campus to celebrate our accomplishments and encourage one another. Student Council President Stephanie Phanor (law '26) spoke about what she thought was required to succeed under the circumstances. She quoted from Congolese-French musician Youssopha’s song, The King, “When you cannot accomplish grand things, then accomplish smaller things with grandeur,” and Martin Luther King who said, If you cannot fly then run, if you cannot run, then walk, if you cannot walk then crawl, but whatever you do, keep moving forward”. “Courage is our weapon,” Stephanie said, “and resilience our armor. Standing still means falling back, so let’s keep moving forward, one small step at a time.” 



Stephanie also thanked HELP for creating a space where progress is still possible. “HELP has moved heaven and earth to keep campus life alive in our beautiful community. Thank you for all your sacrifices that allow us to maintain course in the midst of this raging storm. One small step at a time.” 

Thank you for providing us with the resources to move heaven and earth to maintain this beautiful community with the vision and the goal of a better future.


Donate Now 


Haitian Education & Leadership Program - HELP

64 Fulton Street, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10038 

Support for Haiti

RPCVSF is a friend to the RPCV organization Friends of Haiti (FOH), and promotes the work of the Haiti RPCVs who are connected through FOH.

In early 2014, several members of RPCVSF began planning for a group trip to Haiti to visit some of the organizations RPCVSF has supported over the years, and to learn more about this interesting country.

If you would like more information, write to us at

At the 2005 Annual General Meeting of RPCVSF, former Peace Corps Country Director for Haiti Marty Mueller made an inspiring presentation about the work of Peace Corps in Haiti. RPCVSF

then enlisted RPCVs who had served in Haiti to identify how our community could best offer

effective assistance.

Over the next four years, RPCVSF raised over $15,000 to pay for pre-operation tests that hydro-cephalic children in Haiti needed in order to qualify for free corrective surgery offered by South Florida surgeons volunteering their services to Project Medishare.  After Project Medishare secured a permanent source of funding for those tests, RPCVSF selected the Haitian Education Leadership Program (H.E.L.P.) as an organization to support.

H.E.L.P. provides scholarship and mentoring so that the top high school graduates from remote and marginalized areas of Haiti have the opportunity to complete college studies.  RPCVSF has collaborated on H.E.L.P. fundraisers in South Florida generating over $20,000, and continues to support H.E.L.P. by providing proceeds from sales by RPCVSF's Fair Trade Market.

For more information about HELP, click here:  HELP PPT for RPCVSF 2016.06.08v4 BFA.pdf

Project Medishare and H.E.L.P. are organizations with close ties to the RPCV community - with many RPCVs either working for or serving in leadership of these organizations.

In addition, a local RPCV suggested that Peace Corps hold recruiting sessions at Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center in Miami, which has resulted in dozens of local Haitian-Americans learning about the opportunity of Peace Corps service.

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