My 40th Birthday to help Haiti

Coles Notes Version

For my 40th birthday, I want to launch a campaign to build a STEAM Centre in Haiti. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)

This Centre will provide street children from Cite Soliel (the largest and poorest commune in the Western Hemisphere, possibly the world) an opportunity to truly advance their lives.

For every 1 dollar donated in March and April 2018, Brenda and I will give $2 more dollars, so if we hit our goal of $40,000, that means $120,000 will be donated to start an incredible journey to build a STEAM Centre in Haiti.

100% of all funds raised will go to building a STEAM centre in Haiti - more details below

Full Story
We believe that well-paid jobs are the only way to end poverty and to get a well-paid job you need two things: first you need an education, and second you need an opportunity.

Last year when Brenda and I were married in Haiti, we ran a Wedding Scholarship Fund campaign to send people to school in Haiti. We surpassed our goal and, in the course of seeking individuals we could help, we were introduced to Avanse and fell in love with their mission. 

Avanse's mission is to help street children move forward and rise above.

They focus their efforts on Cite Soliel, an extremely impoverished slum located within the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area in Haiti. Cite Soleil is generally regarded as one of the poorest and most dangerous areas of the Western Hemisphere and has an estimated 400,000 residents, the majority who live in extreme poverty. Most of the residents in Cite Soleil are children or young adults that experience unemployment, illiteracy, non-existent public services, unsanitary conditions, widespread crime and armed violence.

Avanse provides outreach, education, life skills training and emotional healing to the street children of Cite Soleil. They currently run a home in Haiti housing the seven boys pictured above. They provide the boys with a bed to sleep in, food to eat and coaching in life skills.  Avanse just needed the funds to be able to send them to school, so Brenda and I jumped on board and committed some of the scholarship funds to buying the boys their school uniforms, a hot lunch every day, and arranging individual tutoring to help them catch up so they could succeed in their new school. (Actually, it was everyone who supported us that jumped on board – a team mission!)

We then began working closely with the Avanse team and realized that they and we could do so much more. One saying I live my life by is: "If not you, then who? If not now, then when?" and with that in mind I joined Avanse as the Chairman of the Board, and Brenda started to work full-time with the team and has now become the Executive Director (unpaid).  Together, we've committed to cover 100% of the administrative costs of Avanse, so that 100% of all funds donated will go to Haiti. (This commitment is above and beyond this campaign).

100% of the money raised in this campaign will go toward building the new school in Haiti, and we will provide you photos and GPS coordinates so you can see exactly what you've helped to create.

Our vision is building a STEAM Center that is set up like a private school where there is boarding provided for the children we bring in from the streets of Cite Soleil. We intend to house up to 120 children on a ten-year intake/graduating model where we bring in the children around 6-8 years old and help them to flourish and become successful through becoming an adult at 18. At this point, they would move out and go to college or join the workforce.

We will welcome local schools to take field trips to our center, with the goal of helping to raise the bar for the level of immersive education offered for children in Haiti.  We will run weekend programs and summer camps at the center as well; all of this so we can start to build a self-sustaining STEAM center in Haiti.

We head to Haiti today to celebrate the launch of this campaign, to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, to celebrate my 40th birthday, to celebrate Brenda’s 41st birthday, to celebrate our incredible Avanse team in Haiti, to celebrate our excellent team in North America (they're joining us), and to celebrate the love we have for the boys we've helped, the 360insights team we’ve built, and all of the amazing people of Haiti.

We will send frequent updates on our journey this week – so please support and stay tuned!

Avanse STEAM Centre Build Timeline

Our goal is to buy the land for the Avanse STEAM Centre in 2018, build the centre in 2019 and open it by the end of 2019.
This campaign is the beginning of raising the needed capital to buy the land.


From my perspective, it starts with opportunity. 

 In this case, we are giving opportunities to children from one of the most desperate slums on Earth and offering them a chance to learn, grow and thrive.

These kids have been surviving through tragic circumstances; living on the streets with little or no support, no resources and no hope.   
 Now they have the chance to be educated, to get connected with the World and see what life could look like for them. 

Imagine what they’ll do with that opportunity.

That's impact.

Join me and help build a STEAM Centre in Haiti - help these amazing boys and hundreds more move forward and rise above.


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Jason Atkins 
Whitby, ON
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