Steven M. Kirby is the founder of H.E.R.O., a charity founded to provide housing, education, and rehabilitation for orphans and street children in Haiti Steve is also one of the newest board members of House of Blue Hope (HBH). This is his letter to his H.E.R.O. supporters after this past weekend’s HBH annual board retreat:
The only possible method of solving the problems in this world is if we work together. It has been best said by Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” This statement is very true when applied to the context of individuals and organizations helping to provide life opportunities for the street children and orphans of this world. What I have found is that there are many small groups working to benefit the orphaned and abandoned children of this world, but unfortunately, these small groups often fail to work together for the greater good. Instead, it is a battle over donors, funds, space, and notoriety. It is for this particular reason that I was excited to participate in a Board of Directors retreat for a non-profit organization that is working to save the street children and orphans of Tanzania. House of Blue Hope, is an organization founded by Billy Bludgus, a University of Miami alum and friend. During the retreat I had the opportunity to learn about the amazing work of HBH in Tanzania and take away important nuggets of information that will help me make H.E.R.O. a better residence for orphans here in Haiti.
I was invited to join the Board of Directors of House of Blue Hope 6 months ago. Three of the current board members are University of Miami Alumni, a school from which I earned both my B.S.Ed. and M.S.Ed. HBH started with a rented room and a few kids and has now grown to owning their own residence, renting out another, and they currently enroll 19 children. I am truly amazed at the work that HBH has accomplished in such a short time frame and I hope that H.E.R.O. can achieve similar success. At the retreat we discussed mundane topics such as amending the constitution, but we were also able to talk about important aspects of our work including education, housing, and social integration. While Tanzania and Haiti are two countries geographically distant, they share many similarities, especially with regard to infrastructure, development, educational opportunities, and employment. The retreat allowed me to learn about Tanzania, House of Blue Hope, and best practices for running a residence for orphans, while at the same time sharing my experiences building H.E.R.O. from the ground up. All in all, it was a very rewarding retreat.
The lesson that I take away from this experience is that while yes, Margaret Mead’s statement is absolutely correct, even more can be accomplished when these small groups of citizens come together to share experiences, work on solutions, and create a better world. While the collaboration between HBH and H.E.R.O. is commendable, I wish for the same opportunities for other organizations in Haiti. In the end, we have to remember that the work we do in Haiti is not for accolades or awards, but for the benefit of the street children and orphans. I will continue to reach out to organizations in Haiti, as I have done so since the inception of H.E.R.O., and pray that these organizations decide that it isn’t competition, but collaboration that is needed in this country. Only then, will we truly succeed!
Steven M. Kirby, Ed.D