In March of 2017, HERO was represented by Mike Slavik, Meredith Nordbrock and Brian Hindman and was able to meet the kids at St. Thomas Health Care Management in St. Thomas US Virgin Islands. It was a late effort to organize, but with the help of Marty Masar, Lauren Masar and Andre Legault (local islanders) and Program Administrator Kim Bourne-Vanneck, we were able to spend some time with a group of disadvantaged youth and provide them with some very needed educational supplies, sports equipment, paperback books, a new TV and Planet Earth DVD set. It was great to meet some truly wonderful kids. It really helped reinforce what we do. Thank you to the generosity of our donors for making this possible!
We could summarize, but it is unlikely we could say it any better than Ms. Kim said it in her thank you note pasted below.
Stay tuned for more information about a local projects and fundraising this summer!
From Ms. Kim:
“A huge thank you for your generosity and taking time out of your busy schedule to visit and speak to our kids at St. Thomas Health Care Management. You truly made them feel special and filled their void of emptiness. As you could see, our great teenagers genuinely appreciate your gifts and presence -the coolest people ever from the states who found them!
Their new TV is up and running. The bright colored beach towels are glowing on the shelf representing a fun day at the beach. Most of the games and sports equipment including the educational ones have been broken into already and kept neatly in an area ready to be used again.
The treasured Goose Bump books have become the most popular books at our adolescent residential facility thanks to Achille who lets “others” borrow them. As he a former non reader, now honor student, you truly lifted up his day and provided hope. There’s a good chance he may be reunited with his mother fairly soon. And this is only one example of what your visit and kindness meant to our youth and the WONDERFUL impact it had on all of us.
Thank you Honey. Thank you Andre. Thank you Mark. (Please forward to others) Thank you everyone very much for understanding our plight, caring about our kids, and remembering the most forgotten.
In October of 2016, HERO worked with Our Kids Foundation in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Thanks to the help of our donors, we were able to purchase 6 laptop computers from a local shop and donate them directly to to Djeciji dom Egipatsko Selo Mostar, a local orphanage. The orphanage is governed and run by local employees and international volunteers. The adults were excited to be able to use the computers as teaching tools, but the kids were more excited to be able to access Youtube and Facebook. Either way, the computers will be a very useful tool and we were happy to help! A special thank you to Russ, Lejla, and Asia, for making the visit go smoothly and facilitating with the purchase of the computers from the local merchant.
Why Bosnia and Herzegovina?
“Life in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina is not easy, with fragmented communities and uneasy government operating within an economically challenged environment. There is currently more than 40% unemployment and as many as 50% of people living below the official poverty line.
Many families’ lives reflect this fragmentation and the battle with poverty. Support for these families is thin on the ground. For some, institutional care for their children becomes the only option for survival, especially for disabled children and children with special needs. Of the 4,000 children estimated to be in care in Bosnia, as many as 40% are thought to be learning disabled.
Life is hard enough for all young people on leaving care at the age of 18 years, but those with special needs can only look forward to a life in large asylum-like institutions. Institutions are not the best places for anyone to be! We aim to promote and test ways of working for children in care and their families that are different to current institutional practices.” – Our Kids Foundation.
2015 Project #2 – San Pedro, Belize On November 13, 2015, HERO donated laptops and various other supplies to Holy Cross School in San Pedro, Belize. Holy Cross School educates approximately 440 students from preschool to 8th grade. Holy Cross’ students are consistently at high risk of hurricanes and disease and often lack basic necessities including food, health and dental care, and shoes. Through YOUR generosity and support, HERO hopes to bring about a few smiles from these children with our donations and visit. To learn more about Holy Cross, please visit their website: http://holycrossbelize.org/.
Holy Cross School was kind enough to send along some photos of the students using their new laptops!
2015 Project – Wakatinku Village, Peru
In May of 2015, Team HERO worked with Alpaca Expeditions from Cusco, Peru and journeyed into the highlands to make donations to Wakatinku Village. We donated 4 computers, school supplies and hygienics to the 200+ kids in the village. Thanks to all who donated this year. We were able to make a lasting difference for the kids of the remote village of Wakatinku. Special thanks to Kevin Leckey, Stephanie Wake, Jess Ackerman, Rachel Kokal, Molly Glauberman, Jess Shoss, Whitney Huskey, Lindsay Benitez and Meredith Nordbrock for taking time off from their scheduled vacation to join us in our project. Also, thanks to Raul from Alpaca Expeditions for introducing us to the locals.
2014 Project – Natal, Brazil
We partnered with Casa Durval Paiva, a house providing support for children with cancer in Northeast Brazil. The house supports over 1,000 kids and their families, and Team HERO had the honor of touring their facility and meeting some of the kids. It was a tremendously rewarding experience, and with your help, we were able to donate 11 tablets and some digital cameras to the house. You can read more about their organization here: Casa Durval Paiva
For a special note about our visit check this out: Casa Durval Paiva and HERO
2013 Project – Luang Prabang, Laos
Team HERO partnered with a very inspiring individual named Ken Pitsapheng to deliver school supplies to children of rural Laos. Ken is the founder of the House of Dreams, a school in Luang Prabang, that allows bright children from the countryside to obtain a formal education, to hopefully attend university and to eventually obtain high earning jobs to help support their families. Ken, the founder and teacher, works part time at a local hotel and uses his salary to pay the rent and support the six students living at the House of Dreams. The school is a modest building with one space designated as a classroom and living room. There are three small bedrooms, one for the boys, one for the girls, and one for Ken. In the back, there is a simple kitchen with the basics. To the side of the building is a small, mostly dirt yard for activities. Ken has a very small library of books that he has collected in order to teach the kids English. Check out the photo gallery to see for yourself!
With our sponsors help, we were able to purchase two laptop computers, visa gift cards for downloading learning/teaching applications for the computers and enough cash to pay for one months worth of food, rent, electricity and miscellaneous supplies needed to maintain the House of Dreams. Team HERO would like to again thank our sponsors for their help. These supplies will go a long way at the House of Dreams! We will stay in touch with Ken going forward and will keep you posted on the House of Dreams. And finally, Ken is looking for volunteers to help teach English, and should you know anyone that may be interested, we would be happy to help make that connection.
Prior to 2013:
Though HERO was founded in late 2012/early 2013, HERO’s founding directors have previously tried to find ways to give back to local communities in various parts of the world. Please see the photo gallery for pictures of past visits to India and the Dominican Republic where we visited local schools and donated school supplies, sports equipment and other goods.
Dominican Republic 2012