Friday, June 04, 2010

Workcamper to share Beanie Babies with children in Haiti.

When Katie Royer departed for Haiti this week, 250 Beanie Babies went along. She filled two large suitcases with the stuffed animal toys, in order to give one to each of 200-plus children at the New Covenant School in St. Louis du Nord, Haiti.

Royer is one of 19 young adults from across the United States and 2 young adults from Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren) in Port-au-Prince who are part of the week-long workcamp, June 1-8. A student at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania, she is back home in Elgin, Ill., for the summer.

This is the first Church of the Brethren workcamp of the summer, and is specifically for young adults. Jeanne Davies, who coordinates the Workcamp Ministry, is accompanying the group. The workcamp is directed by Michaela and Ilexene Alphonse, Church of the Brethren members from Florida who founded New Covenant School.

Family and friends have been helping Royer collect the Beanie Babies since she made the decision to attend the workcamp. A total of 500 toys have been donated to the effort, but Royer could fit only half in the two suitcases she was allowed to check for free on the airplane. She is still working out where to donate the other half of the toys she has received.

New Covenant School is currently housed in a rented property but is in the process of constructing a new school building. Workcamp participants will work alongside members of the community on the new building, and also will lead crafts and games at a Vacation Bible School.

St. Louis du Nord is a day’s drive north of Port-au-Prince and was not affected by the January earthquake. However, along with disaster response and crisis intervention, there also is a need for longterm mission in Haiti. One way the Church of the Brethren is attempting to do this is through support of education.

Although there are some public schools in Haiti, 90 percent of primary schools are private. Even in public schools, the cost of fees, uniforms, and books is too expensive for the families of many Haitian children. New Covenant School was founded to give neighborhood children the opportunity of a basic education. The school also holds Christian education classes on Sundays.

A commissioning litany for workcamp participants is available at

Source: 6/4/2010 Newsline

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