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I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and graduated from Gannon University with a master’s in occupational therapy in 2010. I fell in love with missions when I went on my first international mission trip to Mexico when I was 12. My passion for Haiti and children with special needs happened on my first mission trip to Haiti in 2007. During that trip my heart hurt when I discovered how children and adults with any type of disability were seen as worthless, cursed, possessed, and therefore were often abandoned, left to die, or ostracized from their communities. The children whose families chose to keep them were looked down upon and their children never got the opportunity to go to school, rarely had friends and many times were malnourished, and rarely got outside their homes. I have been serving in Haiti since 2009. My mission and vision have always been to make the invisible visible by giving a Voice to the voiceless through Christ, Church and Community. To fight for and advocate for the needs and rights of special needs children in Haiti and to empower nationals and families to care for these children as God would. Since 2009 I have served and partnered with over 10 mission organizations across Haiti as well as helped to get the first bachelor level OT program in Haiti accredited by founding the National OT association for Haiti and serving as Haiti’s Alternate Delegate for the World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT).
In 2019 I started my own non-profit 5 STAR Global Ministry. My ministry’s focus is the For Jonathan Sake Outreach Program that I started back in 2009. Since 2009 we have grown from serving 10-20 families to over 1,200. We now have 15 different programs that run under the outreach program. The 5 key elements in all our programs are making everything Christ-centered, empowering families, providing disability advocacy, training and educating nationals, and using a holistic therapeutic medical care model.
My dream is that every child with special needs in Haiti would receive the therapy and support that they need and deserve because they are VISIBLE and VALUED as members of their society; that nationals would be trained and equipped to be therapists; and that therapy would be recognized as a medical necessity and thus be integrated into Haiti’s medical systems.
With the growth of the outreach program, I am in need of hiring more therapy and nursing staff but need to raise the funds to pay their monthly salaries first.
We are in the process of buying land and working with an architect to build a permanent outreach center in the northwest zone of Haiti. This is a large project that we are hoping to complete within the next 3 years. We need to raise fund or find grants to help cover this 1.5 Million dollar project.
Haiti is a very challenging country to live in. The darkness and spiritual warfare are very real and present. Haiti needs a revival and needs Jesus. In the last 3 years there has been a steady decrease in security, increased violence and kidnappings, and a gang war has broken out with over 200 gangs cutting off all routes into and out of the capital. Top that off with Haiti having its share of natural disasters.
For me personally staying spiritually filled and taking care of myself emotionally and physically is a major challenge. I have recently been able to get a better internet source which allows me to watch Grace online on Sundays and that has been a huge blessing the past year.