In the beginning my dad was the Hut Outreach visionary. He was the one who brainstormed the name and logo, the face of the organization who spoke at events and shared the stories. He was also the dreamer. Aaron and I were always practical, but dad had big dreams: a youth center! A computer lab! Back then I was perfectly content feeding a few families, I hadn’t really started to dream yet. But dad was thinking much bigger.
It’s amazing to me how God puts together the team. Our team is small, always has been, but we have the perfect mix of people. We have dreamers and doers, people who can go a lot and people who can’t. My mom will pack bus lunches for thirty people like it’s no big deal, Amy will work three days straight on end of year book-keeping. Dad and Joni will ease the first couple days of getting to know a new team with lots of jokes, Aaron will obsess and make sure we never run out of water or cokes. God has given us the exact people we need to make this happen.
Those early dreams have come true. The youth center idea is a reality now. It looks a little different than we originally thought, but the concept is there and it is still evolving. The computer lab has taken a long time, but it is a reality now too. Recently our Haitian friend and youth director Pierre was elated to show us ten new donated computers. We walked around the center and ended up in a big storage area, the last of the rooms at the center to be remodeled. When he opened the door I saw a future computer lab!
That was just a few weeks ago. Pierre has already built lovely wooden counters on the perimeter of the room, laid ceramic tile floors, and had the room painted. The computers are set up. We have purchased a projector for the teacher, and the room is set up so each student can work at their own computer and see the teacher’s screen projected on the wall.
There is just one piece left… our current internet is very basic and is not sufficient for ten computers. We need to upgrade, but the cost is an additional $180 per month.
I can no longer say ‘computers are the future’, computers are right now. My fourth grader does most of his homework in google docs. He navigates his online accounts independently. The schools in Haiti must offer this skill or the students will never have a chance of future academic success. This lab will be used by our students- elementary through high school, as well as several college students. We have already started a schedule to ensure that we maximize this opportunity.
I wrote this blog a few weeks ago, and never published it because it contained a big ask. Now I can post and edit to add this: THIS NEED IS MET! Thanks to the incredible Songfest team at the University of Toledo we can cover this cost for the next 2 years! Songfest had a goal to raise $10,000 to help fund the start of the Hut Outreach high school- but instead they raised over $18,000! Part of that surplus will be used to fund the internet for the computer lab.
God is good, dreams come true, and I am forever grateful!