The voices and laughter of children, the bright colors on the wall, and the smiling faces of volunteers are what welcomes me as I enter J/P HRO's Kay Kominote (Community House) in Delmas 48.
The space is filled with creativity from top to bottom. The presence of young Haitian artists set this place apart from all the other J/P HRO facilities. Each multi-purpose room in the repurposed single family home has its own design and theme. My favorite room is called the "house of culture" it has flashy multicolored circles drawn on the wall with names and birthdays of community members written in the middle. An average of 600 people from the Delmas community comes through the door every week. It is truly a central hub for many people in the area.
Kay Kominote works hard to provide inter-generational programs that promote social growth, psychological growth, and educational advancement. Programs are run with the help of roughly 100 weekly volunteers from the community, thirty-nine of whom are members of a group called "The Dream Team".
The Dream Team is the backbone of Kay Kominote! The members of the group are committed individuals ranging in age from fourteen to thirty-one. They facilitate all the different activities offered at the house; from homework help, dance class, debate club, literacy training, recycled material art classes, photography workshops, and martial arts club, they do it all.
The incredible philanthropic spirit of The Dream Team is empowering the people of Delmas. Their vision is to enrich the daily lives of those in their community through income-generating skills, and extra-curricular activities.
Kay Kominote reminds me very much of an after-school program I attended when I was in high school in Brooklyn. The activities and leadership molded me into the person I am today. I love seeing something similar in Haiti because I know the infinite impact places like Kay Kominote can have on a community. It gives me hope for the future of the neighborhood; the J/P HRO staff at Kay Kominote and the volunteers are living examples of people who strongly believe sustainability in Haiti means empowering the communities.