In 2006, funds were given to begin a home for Haitian children who were orphaned or who could not be cared for by their parents. Yvon Pierre, a young Haitian man whom we met in Haiti in 1985, was living and working in the United States to send money home to his family. He had attended a preaching school and planned to return to Haiti to become a pastor. After agreeing to become director of the orphanage, Yvon returned to Haiti to find a residence for an orphanage, determine which children would become part of a "new family" and choose two caretakers to assist his wife Eunide and himself in the care of the children. In January, 2007, the Ryan Epps Home For Children (REHC) became a reality as Yvon's family and ten children moved into a rented house. Originally, all funds were administered through Horne Memorial United Methodist Church in Clayton, NC. In 2009, the REHC was successful in acquiring 501c3 status from the Internal Revenue Service. Presently, funds for constructing a permanent home are held in a Wachovia bank account under the name of Ryan Epps Home for Children, and the funds for everyday living are administered through Horne Memorial UMC. We are in the process of having REHC registered with the Haitian government.
In late 2009, we prepared to construct a permanent home for REHC on property we own at Michaud near Port-au-Prince. The plan was to construct a two-story cement-block building. The first floor would be a church and school. The second floor would be the children's dormitories, a kitchen/dining room, and living quarters for Yvon and his family. In early 2010, we began construction of the foundation for the two-story building.
Three REHC Board Members (Helen Little, Valerie and Al Carpenter) were in Haiti at the time of the January 12, 2010 earthquake. The board members quickly learned that although the REHC rented home was severely damaged, all the REHC family was safe. The children were moved to the yard of one of the REHC Board members in Haiti, Mr. Andre Lefort, whose home was not damaged. Tents were sent to keep the children out of the weather.
During the earthquake recovery, we met individuals from Compassion Alliance (CA), an organization that has successfully built metal structures for schools in Central America. The vivid images of collapsed two-story cement-block buildings convinced us that we should consider alternative construction methods. After Paul Romine of CA visited the Michaud site, Compassion Alliance designed a new plan for the first building (Phase 1). We contracted with CA to build a one-story 4,700 square foot metal building that can withstand category 3 hurricanes. This building eventually will become the church (capacity for 180 people) and school (capacity 170 children).
In April 2010, a team from North Carolina joined Compassion Alliance and Haitians in the Michaud community to construct the church/school. The building was erected in 4 days. Haitian workers continued to work on the plumbing, interior walls, an outdoor kitchen, an outdoor toilet and a walkway around the building. In early August, the building became temporary housing for the REHC children, caretakers, and Yvon and his family. August 18 - 24, a team from North Carolina traveled to Haiti to complete the electrical wiring in the building, install a submersible pump in the well and determine the location for the Phase 2 building.
November 15 – 22, 2010, a team from North Carolina travelled to Haiti to assemble the Phase 2 building - the orphanage. In August 2011, the REHC family moved into the new building.
Some facts about the children and their home:
1. There are 28 children at present (13 boys and 15 girls)
The boys' names are Douly, Mackenson,Wilguens, Erve, Berneau, Stevenson, Djooby, Jeff, Wade, Djeffte, Luiggi, Estevens and Jocelyn.
The girls' names are Boiveline, Taichna, Tamara, Jenny, Sophonie, Roldine, Andjelica, Alfania, Cachina, Orlane, Dieunitha, Christine, Ludhiana, Tracy and Anderlyne.
Many other children need the care these children receive.
2. Yvon Pierre's family includes his wife Eunide, son Giorgy, and daughter Bianca.
3. Cladel, Nadine, Emma, Fefe, Gady, Tisson, Sonia, Monique, and Jean are also employed at REHC.
The REHC Children
Giorgy, Bianca, Eunide & Yvon Pierre