A third grade teacher at Cherokee Charter Academy is working to make a difference in kids’ lives. Not just students in her Canton school, but for children a world-away in the impoverished nation of Haiti. Only 20% of Haiti’s school-aged children have access to education.
Sabrina Gapen is raising funds and awareness for the non-profit group, Passion Rescue Mission. PRM operates a school in Francois, Haiti – one of the country’s very few tuition-free public schools. Last year the Genecoit Vertus School of Excellence educated 225 students. It’s hoping to raise that number to 300 this year.
Ms. Gapen says “My biggest hope for this school is to raise awareness. To get more people involved, more resources…resources students need to be educated. There are three chalkboards in the entire place, no books. That makes you very grateful for the resources that we have to educate our children back at home. They need books, just a chance at a better education.”
She is hoping to raise $2000 toward the cost of a new school building and badly needed school supplies like paper, pencils and chalk. Classes are presently taught in a small church without desks or chairs. The only requirement for the students is that they have shoes. They have to walk miles up an unpaved road to attend the school.
Ms. Gapen also plans to produce a fundraising video in Haiti for Passion Rescue Mission and the school.
The school was started in 2009 by Gene Vertus. Mr. Vertus is an IT supervisor for Charter Schools USA in Florida. CSUSA is the management company that operates Cherokee Charter Academy. The CEO of CSUSA has vowed to match any monetary donations toward construction of the new school building in Haiti.