Requesting Help in Haiti

Twenty years ago, I penned the opening sentence to my first novel, The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas.

“I was 12-years-old when my father took me to my first Olympic Games.”

I published the book six years later in 2008.  After eight novels, it remains my ‘best seller.’  Two decades ago, my writing mentor taught me that every manuscript must focus on a core message:  what is this book really about.  As I set to work on The Olympian, I was inspired by the words of clergyman, social reformer, and fellow New Englander Henry Ward Beecher (1813 – 1887), words I remembered from days of my youth,

 “Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory.  He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.”

Reverend Beecher’s sister by the way is Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  When President Abraham Lincoln met the reverend’s sister, he greeted her by saying, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

I interpret Reverend Beecher’s statement to mean that the value of a human being should be based not on what he does for himself, rather on what he does for others.

There are many ways to use our strength to serve our fellows and to lift their hearts from despair.  Charitable giving is one way.

For many years, I have worked with my friend Justin Ricot and his organization in Haiti to feed and inspire young Haitians and minimize the influence of the ever-present gangs that rule the streets.  This month, Justin was awarded the 2021 Cité Soleil Peace Prize.

Armenian cucumber

This year, my friend Dwight and I – with help from my wife and our youngest son and his family – have prepared 12,000 sq.ft of arid desert in hopes of creating a small farm.  Currently, we have 6,000 sq.ft. planted, and we harvested our first fruit – an Armenian cucumber – two weeks ago.  Our goal is to have all 12,000 sq.ft. planted by the end of August as we prepare for the ‘official’ outdoor market season that runs from October through May.  We intend to sell the vegetables we produce at local farmer’s markets and send 100% of the revenue we generate to Justin who manages Guepard Boxing Club in Cité Soleil, Haiti [GBCCS] on behalf of the children he serves.

We received Justin’s annual budgets last week.  The annual budget to feed 250 Haitian children four days each week after training sessions is $15,944.45.  The annual budget for activities that include athletic training and competition, street clean-up, tree planting, a trip to the National Museum, and other activities is $12,373.80.

A year from now when our farm is fully functional, we believe the revenue we generate can cover the food budget and even approach the total $28,000 annual budget.  In the short term, however, we need help to keep the kitchen open.  After a year of no activity due to the pandemic, Justin hopes to begin training again in September.

Charitable giving is discretionary.  Four years ago, my friends were able to raise $36,000.  With that money, we were able to feed and train 300 children four days each week after school, run a summer camp, stage the museum trip from the ghetto, and even send 20 children to school for a full year.  Since that time, funding has been much more difficult to generate.  We hope that the farm will alleviate the situation.

I humbly ask that you consider helping us feed and educate 250 Haitian children who live in the poorest, most dangerous ghetto in the Western Hemisphere.  I ask you to use your strength to help these children and raise their hearts from despair.

If you would consider donating to this cause, I will communicate with you directly.  Please fill out the contact form at the bottom of this post and I will personally contact you with more detail and answer any questions you might have.

In appreciation, I will send an autographed copy of the book of your choice to those who make a $25 or more donation.

  • The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas
  • The Hamsa
  • Tobit and the Hoodoo Man, A Mystical Tale from the Civil War South
  • DWI: Dying While Intoxicated
  • The Sixth Day, A 17,175-word Novella About Creation and Prizefighting
  • Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ
  • The Faith of Job
  • The Vitruvian Man’s Book of Hours

I greatly appreciate your consideration of this request to help the children we serve in Haiti.  Please share this post with friends, family, and associates who you believe might be able and willing to help.

If you find it in your heart to help, please submit the contact form and I will respond personally to you and give you more details about the program, how it works and how to contribute.  Please use the message box to indicate any questions that immediately come to mind, and how you prefer I contact you: email or telephone.  Also, enter in the message box which book you prefer IF you decide to participate.

    tVM Book of Hours

    I am pleased to announce that The Vitruvian Man’s Book of Hours is now available at Amazon and other online retailers.

    A thin 80 pages and a mere 7,500 words it contains 84 ‘offerings’ distributed through three daily hours – sunrise, midday, and sunset – each day of the week.  My hope is that it finds its way to nightstands, coffee tables, and other locations within arm’s reach that will encourage people to reach for it and spend a few minutes every day in spiritual thought.

    It is currently available as a paperback.  We have not made a decision on the eBook.

    Crossing the Line

    I have never been a fan of ‘political correctness.’  If you have something to say, say it.  Every individual who hears it or reads it has his God-given freedom of choice to accept it, agree with it, discard it, or whatever.  No individual has the right to change it.  If he does not agree with what I say or what I write, she has no right to change it.

    Garrison Keillor

    Although I do not agree with everything Garrison Keillor says or writes, I enjoy listening to him and reading his work.  This morning, however, he crossed the line.  I will forgive his trespass, but I will not forget it.

    Rudyard Kipling

    One of my favorite poems is the iconic “If” written by the British Nobel laureate poet Rudyard Kipling in 1895 and first published in 1910.  Mr. Kipling wrote his poem in 32 lines – four, 8-line stanzas.  It tells us how to live a fulfilling and satisfying life.  The poem concludes…

    Rudyard Kipling

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

        Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

        If all men count with you, but none too much;

    If you can fill the unforgiving minute

        With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

        And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

    I was appalled as I heard Mr. Keillor read it on his “Writer’s Almanac” this morning.  Although he left “If all men count with you, but none too much” unchanged, he had the brazen gall to alter the final lines of Mr. Kipling’s poem to…

    “If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With full attention to the surrounding world,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – what is more – you are a woman, my girl.”

    I have asked myself over and over, “Why would so respected and well-known an author and orator like Garrison Keillor believe that he has the privilege to change one of the greatest poems ever penned?”

    I am hurt.  I forgive Mr. Keillor, but I will never forget what he did on this morning in 2021.