Walk With Haiti - EDUCATION PROGRAM
Haiti has very little public education and it is their only hope of making a better life. St. Mark Parish committed to providing education scholarships to students that attend Notre Dame de Lourdes (NDL), starting with 10 students in 1998 and now sending 40 children to school.
The scholarship money raised covers the cost of tuition and books; the parents are responsible for the children’s transportation and meals.
On an ad hoc basis St. Mark’s has also sent money to enable students to get eye exams and glasses, and has provided school supplies on parish visits.
Since there are more than 500 children in the parish that need an education, standards were created to help the parish priest select applicants and manage the program effectively. These standards are intended to assure that the children are attending accredited schools and maintain a passing grade, and that their parents take an active role in the support of their children’s educational progress.
Now that some of our scholarship students are graduating from high school, we have started helping them with further education. We will send the parish $600 per student per year for 4 years and they will give it to the students as no-cost loans, to be paid back initially by helping the younger students. Later, when they get a job they should do their best to pay it back, so there will be money for the younger students to go to university too.
The average yearly cost for tuition and textbooks is $650 per child. The scholarship program is basically funded in two ways:
1) Donations from individuals both inside and outside the parish, who sponsor part or all of a child’s education. Around October each year, we ask for annual pledges of $450, but any amount is greatly appreciated and may be paid in installments through the year.
2) Local supermarket Gift Cards that are sold after each Mass, whereby you receive the full face value of the gift card but Walk With Haiti receives from the stores 5% of the value of Stop and Shop cards sold, and 6% of Big Y cards sold, and 10% of the value of Shop Rite cards sold.
The loans for higher education have been funded to date from special donations and fundraising activities, including the sale of gift cards at Christmas. As more students complete high school we expect to need to raise more money in this area.
To make a donation, please send a check (made out to "Walk With Haiti" with 'Scholarships' or 'College' in the memo) to: Walk With Haiti, St. Mark Catholic Church, 222 McVeagh Rd, Westbrook, CT 06498.