On behalf of the kids from the Western Pocono Community Library's summer reading program, Carol Kern, the library director, presented $567.83 to Nancy Joy Koch of Zion Lutheran Church. The money is to be sent to the Village of Hope in Haiti so the children there can continue to go to school.
The library's summer reading program theme was "One World, Many Stories." Seven continents and several countries were visited through stories and activities. The second week of the program, they visited Haiti and Nancy Joy presented a program of the country through pictures and her own personal experience of visiting Haiti.
At the gift presentation, Carol Kern reminded everyone that it has been 19 months since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010. Over 200,000 people died, 300,000 were injured, 1.5 million were left homeless after a 7.0 earthquake shattered the country.
Nancy Joy and two friends went on a mission trip to Haiti Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 2010.
"When we got off the plane, we looked around at the destruction and asked, 'Where is the hope?' Then we were taken to a school called the Village of Hope and that's where we found hope. They have 13 grade levels with 40 students in each. Many of these children walk miles to attend," she says.
Nancy found the devastation heart-wrenching but found the people to be heart-warming as they struggle to rebuild their homes and schools.
"The presentation we did here showed the conditions of the children of Haiti. I know when we came left, we had a different perspective. I think the children here at WPCL did too and understood that not everyone lives as well as we do," she says.
Little cardboard boxes were then given to the children and they were asked to fill them with coins or paper money to be donated to the Village of Hope and they received 78 boxes back.
One youngster, Giovanni Tynan, only three years old, was greatly affected by what Nancy Joy presented that day and went home and asked his family and friends to help him fill his little donation box for the children of Haiti.
He raised the most money with $123.10.
"He was very committed to this," says his mother, Jasmine Tynan. "He'd ask everyone to give him coins for the children of Haiti."
The library gave a prize to each of the children that raised the most money from each age group. Giovanni won a stuffed Sneetch (a character from the Dr. Seuss book "The Sneetches and Other Stories") in the age category of infant to 7, age category, Allie Gabrielle, 9, won a pin in the 8-11 group and Ryan Taranto, 12, won a pin in the12-18 age group.
Nancy Joy thanked all the children and others who donated.
"I know the children of the Village of Hope will be extremely grateful for your generosity," she said.