Burgin students learn about Haiti, send gifts

December 13, 2004|BOBBIE CURD

BURGIN - Burgin Independent School students are taking part in a project that will benefit people across the globe.

"I really wanted to get them involved in some type of outreach and learning about Haiti through Love for the Nations has really exposed them to the world outside Burgin, Ky.," said Deborah Brooks, a fifth grade teacher at the school.

The students have been bringing in any type of items that families in impoverished and strife-torn Haiti would find useful; there's a long list of materials the organization will accept.

Brooks also brought in a parking meter bank which the students have been contributing their spare change to; so far they've collected $150.


Brooks lives in Lexington and noticed a column in The Herald Leader about the non-profit organization, then contacted Love for the Nations in Louisville to find out how to get Burgin students involved.

"It just happened to be near International Education week at the school in November, so we were able to get the whole school involved with this project, not just my class. It's been amazing and the kids have responded wonderfully," Brooks said.

The founder of Love for the Nations, Angie Moree, was on hand Wednesday to meet with Brooks and some students about their project. She came with a large van to load up all the items the children have collected so far and they were happy to give her a hand in loading it.

"I brought this Barbie!" said second-grader Sydni Beasley as she carried a small box down the stairs to load in Moree's van.

Love for the Nations in its fourth year

Love for the Nations has been active for four years, but was just officially organized this year.

"I had thought I would go to Africa, but something just drew me to Haiti, so I felt like that's what I was supposed to do," Moree says.

Moree visited an orphanage in Haiti in 2002 and she said if there were any questions in her mind about what she should set out to do, they were answered on that trip.

"It just felt right" Moree says.

The first trip Moree took was with a small team of three, but they were able to raise money to bring clothes, toys, books and hygiene supplies to the children of the Bon Repos region. On the second trip, a Louisville physician accompanied them and they were able to bring a young lady back to the U.S. to have two major surgeries performed.

Love for the Nations hopes to establish free schools, build orphanages and offer medical attention to women and children around the who live below poverty levels.

The children at the school have been very eager to learn about Haiti and Brooks said some statistics really shocked them.

"They were really saddened to learn that 60 percent of children die before the age of 12 and that the average life span of a person in Haiti is 51," Brooks said.

Surprising questions

The students have also been extremely curious and have surprised Brooks with their questions.

"They wanted to know what they live in, if they have houses or not, do they have moms and dads, what do they speak, things like that," she said.

Next, they are planning on starting a pen pal program with Haitian children and they will continue to collect things like rice, beans and spare change to send year-round.

Brooks is hoping that the continued support program will spark a "geographical awareness" in the children and they will open their minds to the needs of other nations.

"I really wanted them to realize the possibilities they have living here and how terribly fortunate they are. I think they're coming around."

To find out more about the organization, visit or call (502) 418-6522.

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