Latest News

It’s Time for the Tap Tap Craft Beer Festival

It’s time again for the Tap Tap Craft Beer Festival in Chesapeake, VA – our third annual fundraising event to support The Maison Fortuné Orphanage Foundation. The event is Saturday, August 19th from 2-7 pm at Greenbrier Farms, rain or shine.  This year’s tickets are going fast, so if you haven’t already purchased yours, don’t wait – we may not have them at the gate!

The Tap Tap Festival features unlimited free samples of over 30 beers. Food from your popular regional food trucks and entertainment brought to you by two of your favorite bands – BJ Griffin and Galaxy Groove AND Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos!  Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Maison FortunéIt’s Time for the Tap Tap Craft Beer Festival
read more

Meet A Future Leader of Haiti – Exilien Jean

Meet Exilien Jean.  He came to MFO in 2000, when he was just 9 years old.  His mother was still living but unable to care for him once his father passed away. He was welcomed into our family as one of the very first children and now thanks MFO every day for the opportunities he has had and continues to have.

Exilien is now finishing up his third year at the University of Notre Dame Hinche and will graduate next year from the Medical Technology program. He will be completing an internship this fall in Port au Prince and hopes to work in a laboratory setting once he graduates. After high school, our students move off campus and live on their own. While he found this transition hard at first, he was thankful he had the life skills to be out on his own and has now grown to enjoy his independence and his studies. Exilien continues to be involved with our younger boys, helping out between his classes as he can. On the weekends, he can often be found sharing his computer with the younger boys, teaching them to use the computer and showing them tools to help study math and english. He is a shining example of what it looks like to “pay it forward.”  He embodies the opportunity we strive to create. Exilien’s dream is to one day own a plot of land and begin to start his own family. All of this is only possible with the ongoing support from donors like you.

Can you commit to helping to support a child like Exilien create a better future for themselves? With a recurring monthly donation of $25 or more, you can provide tangible resources for our children that will open doors for them and allow their dreams to become a reality.

Maison FortunéMeet A Future Leader of Haiti – Exilien Jean
read more

A Spring Break Twist

I had been to Haiti before. But I knew that Royal Caribbean’s private island would be nothing like what I was about to experience over Spring Break in Hinche. I did not know exactly what to expect, but I ascertained some idea of what the trip would entail when the packing list included lots of sunscreen, plenty of heavy duty bug spray, and a full prescription of malaria pills. Nonetheless I was beyond excited to reach the orphanage and spend the week in Haiti.

Art-3-Img-group

Two teachers, one deacon, seven juniors, six sophomores, and three freshmen from Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach traveled to Maison Fortune in April 2017 to do missionary work and to gain the experience of a lifetime. After two long flights and a bumpy van ride, we finally reached the orphanage. Stepping out of the van, I was anxious, as I had no idea what to expect. Almost Instantaneously, boys came running through the rain to greet us and come help us with our luggage.

Shortly my nerves subsided and I felt at home right away. I came to learn that Maison Fortune was a tight knit group of young boys and girls who loved nothing more than learning new things and spending time with the people who have come to visit them.

Art-3-Img-group-hair

Those who have been to Maison Fortune can attest to the fact that the children in Haiti have a lasting impact on everyone they meet. To those who plan on going, my advice to you is to go with an open mind and learn all that you can from these kids, because they were able to teach me so much in just the few days I was there. I truly valued every second I was able to spend with those in Haiti, whether it was watching a movie in French, kicking around a soccer ball, or just talking on the porch.

There were so many wonderful parts about the trip, so I am not sure that I can pick a favorite, but I am certain the worst part of the whole week was saying goodbye.

Submitted by:  Casey Cummings, Student at Bishop Sullivan High School, MFO Volunteer

Maison FortunéA Spring Break Twist
read more

Going the Distance: Ashley Horner Runs Haiti

In December 2016, Ashley Horner visited Haiti for the first time and spent time at the Maison Fortunè Orphanage, a place she now refers to as home. This orphanage is home to close to 200 children, providing food, shelter, and education for boys and girls who would otherwise be left in desolate situations. Upon her return back to the states, in the midst of the gift giving and holiday season, she knew her story in Haiti was just beginning.

Over the next few weeks, she struggled with what she could offer, as she knew she had more to give. Reflecting on the beauty she found in Haiti it was clear from the start that the people who make up these communities didn’t need to be turned into another America — she wanted to showcase the beauty of Haiti and its people … but she wasn’t a journalist, and she didn’t write for a travel magazine. It was still unclear but she knew she could do something.

(READ MORE ABOUT ASHLEY’S JOURNEY)

Maison FortunéGoing the Distance: Ashley Horner Runs Haiti
read more

Honoring the Memory of Bro Cos

IMG_0220Today Maison Fortuné Orphanage and its supporting Foundation will honor a man we call a father and friend.  Brother Cosmas Rubencamp will be celebrated in services today – one in Danvers, MA and the other taking place at the same time at the campus of Maison Fortuné.  We will be lifting up ‘Bro Cos’ as a mass is prepared to honor his life and everything he did for his Maison Fortuné Family.  Our story exists because he stopped to care.

In an early visit to Haiti in 1988, Bro Cos visited the local Catholic School in Hinche, St. Martin.  He spotted a child attending class without a uniform and he inquired to the officials about this certain boy.  They informed him that this boy was attending class but hadn’t paid for his tuition and could not afford his books and other fees.  They said the child kept coming but they were not sure how long they could continue to let him in without a uniform.  This child knew the importance of being in school and was trying hard to learn everything he could because he also knew that because he couldn’t pay his time would be limited.  What he didn’t know was that Bro Cos would be the man that would allow him to stay.  This is the day Bro Cos met the Maison Fortuné Orphanage Founder and Director, Lefort Jean Louis, the student without a uniform.  Not only did Bro Cos raise the money to pay for his high school tuition and school uniform, he also helped Jean Louis raise support to attend college at Virginia Tech where he graduated in 1994.

VT Awards Ceremony 1 (1)

Virginia Tech, 2012

So today, please join us in prayer at 3:30 PM EST, when so many across oceans will be lifting up the soul of Bro Cos.

Bro Cos believed in the power of education.  We will be setting aside the gifts made in his honor to help fund our college student tuitions.  In the upcoming year, Maison Fortuné will have 26 university students attending college in Haiti.  We know Bro Cos would be honored knowing his passion for education will continue in this important way.  Please consider making a contribution in memory of Bro Cos. He will be dearly missed, but his legacy will live on in the hearts of minds of those he touched.

IMG_0299

IMG_0217 (1)

Maison FortunéHonoring the Memory of Bro Cos
read more

Just, Wow!

Our weekend was filled with celebration at the orphanage, as Ashley Horner, her team and our children celebrated an amazing accomplishment — running 230 miles through Haiti to raise money for our primary school.  The original goal was $28,000, to fund the school for an entire year.  When Ashley hit that goal, she doubled down, and kept running, challenging people around the world with a new goal of $56,000.

We are incredibly happy to report not only did Ashley meet the new goal, SHE BROKE IT.  As of this writing the fundraising page is over $64,000, from more than 1,100 donors!  

Not only did Ashley crush the goal and provide two years of funding for the school, she helped increase awareness about The Maison Fortunè Orphanage and our goal of raising the next generation of leaders for Haiti.  We are beyond thrilled, and so very appreciative of everything Ashley and her team have done for the children.  Of course the mission doesn’t end here – we have more needs, but thanks to Ashley’s efforts, we’re able to focus even more resources to our other challenges.

We’ll close with a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported Ashley and the children of Maison Fortunè through dollars, tears, sweat, sharing the story and sending prayers and warm thoughts. Thank you.

Maison FortunéJust, Wow!
read more

Day 4: Ashley Runs Haiti

“Go as far as you can see. And when you get there, keep going.”

Day 4 Update . “We have made it to St. Raphael. Ashley has run straight since we left Cap-Haitien around 12:30 early this morning. It’s been the longest straight stretch so far without a big break. And she is absolutely dominating today’s run. Maybe it’s the nicer weather today – a cool overcast day with a breeze instead of the rain or sweltering heat we’ve seen so far. Or possibly that she got everything she needed last night to actually recover: rest, food, sleep in a real bed. Or maybe it’s the simple fact she knows we’ve hit all the big check points before Hinche where we’ll meet up with all the kids at the end of the run.


When she first told me she wanted to do this… I’ll be the first to admit I made the mistake of doubting the whole thing. “It’s too dangerous” I told her. “The conditions are so different down there.” And it’s not that I assumed she hadn’t thought about these things, and maybe I was being a bit too glass-half-empty… but it sounded impossible to me. It sounded like too big of a feat for any one person to try and tackle. But I realized, very quickly, that Ashley is not your average person… She’s been forged from a different mentality and an inner strength that’s more powerful than anything I’ve ever known. No mountain is too high, and no challenge is too great with her.


It makes you check yourself and recognize how easy it is to say something isn’t possible, or worse maybe – that something isn’t worth the risk of simply trying. I think the majority of us probably only have ever witnessed about 10% of what we are truly capable of. This week, we are all witnessing what it looks like when someone puts their full 100% in the game.”

Source:  https://www.facebook.com/AshleyHornerFitness/

 

The AshleyRunsHaiti campaign for the education of the MFO children has surpassed the original goal of $25,000 and is currently at $57, 369 (Raised by 934 people).

Thank you Ashley for your commitment and amazing strength.

Maison FortunéDay 4: Ashley Runs Haiti
read more

Over The Mountains And Through Haiti…Ashley Horner Surpasses Her Goal!

With each step I take, I already know I will never be alone- Tomorrow it begins; a journey that will be stamped on my heart forever- Ashley Horner17799158_1446794298678509_7496490116408939980_n

17499085_1445573138800625_6608013554408851587_nYesterday, Maison Fortuné Orphanage donor and pro fitness competitor Ashley Horner set off on her 230 mile run around Haiti to raise money for an entire year of MFO primary school funding. We are excited to announce that on day two of Ashley’s journey she has surpassed the $25,000 goal and the donations are rolling in!  Way to go Ashley!

To help you understand the magnitude of this journey, here are some excerpts from the on-site coverage of this feat that you can read on:

Day 1: We’ve passed through a few small towns now. The congestion of the downtown areas makes for chaos and confusion, especially with our convoy of 2 motos, 2 vehicles and Ashley on foot of course. But the roads aren’t exactly set up to easily take “detours” here, so we truck right through it. Ashley’s wearing a Buff to try and help with the immense amount of smog and exhaust she’s breathing in as every car passes. She came back to the car and said, “This heat is no joke…” but thankfully the sun is going down and the air is cooling right along with it. Hannah hopped out around Mile 5 and together they’re keeping a slow and steady pace. Starting off too fast will likely lead to problems down the road. We’re keeping her hydrated, stopping just for several seconds to wipe off the sweat, sip some water and keep going.

 

17522693_1435994616422243_7963963337010569447_nDay 2: Around 4am this morning, we rolled out our sleeping mats and found a safe clearing at the top of the hill outside of St. Marc. We knew our driver needed to get some rest for the long day we knew today held. Ashley got a little rest, but she mostly kept saying how she wanted everyone else to get some sleep. Doesn’t surprise me one bit, that the girl running over 200 miles across Haiti is still putting everyone else first. She woke up and shook off the stiffness and aches from yesterday. Hannah brought her cupping tools to try and get some circulation to Ashley’s hamstrings. She ate some Mountain House granola, got some aminos in her, and is off running again. Hoping to make some serious miles before the heat of the day hits.  ☀️ We are getting updates from the orphanage and all the children are praying for Ashley’s safe finish for her run. They can’t wait to run the final mile with her when we get close to Hinche. We are getting updates from the orphanage and all the children are praying for Ashley’s safe finish for her run. They can’t wait to run the final mile with her when we get close to Hinche. 

I‘m not sure who in their right mind would ever guess that running across a country would be glamorous. But this just goes to show that even though the body is capable of some ridiculous things, it’s definitely going to show its struggle. We stopped for a foot check 17800167_1436136709741367_5409549068842841254_nbecause Ashley was saying she felt some blisters forming, but we had no idea how bad they were going to be. Two big ones on the sides of both feet, and some serious damage to the toenails of her left foot. We made a big mistake of not changing socks when we got some rest this morning, and she’s hurtin’ now because of it, but just moments after getting bandaged up – she hit the road again. It’s getting pretty hot. Almost midday. We are somewhere between St Marc and Gonaives. Everyone is feeling the heat, with nowhere to find shade or cool off. This is a straight stretch of road and I can sense Ashley is bracing herself for the reality of the mountains and climbing that lie ahead of her. We haven’t even gotten to the serious elevation here…. not even close… No guess yet on when we’ll hit the mountains. But I’ll continue to keep you all updated. She keeps asking, through multiple “I’m fine… I feel good” or polite requests for snacks or water – how the fundraiser is doing. I cant emphasize enough how much this means to her. She is putting her body through the wringer, pushing to limits I can’t even fathom, to be able to set foot in the Maison Fortuné Orphanage Foundation and be able to tell the children their school costs are completely paid for for a full year. Please if you can spare even just a few dollars – it all adds up. -eva

The emotions are overflowing. This is incredible. We were just pausing to collect ourselves and plan out the next few hours to save energy during the heat of the day. And all of a sudden @erin_crooks_ texts me and says “You reached your goal!” I thought it had to be wrong…. Our goal was $28k…. but we are pushing forward. Why stop there with the generosity and compassion pouring out from every person reading this… you are part of this now. We’re all in this together.  Let’s shoot for TWO whole years of school for these kids. Ashley is still running… we still need your encouragement and support.

Click here to donate:  https://www.razoo.com/story/7axccf

 

 

 

 

Maison FortunéOver The Mountains And Through Haiti…Ashley Horner Surpasses Her Goal!
read more

Surround Yourself With Good People-Good Happens!

When you start out with a vision of doing good things and you surround yourself with good people- GOOD HAPPENS!

When I came back to my home country with the vision to “make sure children without access to education could obtain one”  – I had no idea that so many years later the work would extend so far beyond the four boys and one room house I started with.  I also never imagined and that the people I’ve met along the way would believe in me and be the reason we are able to go so far.

JeanLouiseGroupBeing the Founder and Director of Maison Fortune Orphanage I have a unique role that has become more than I had ever imagined.  When visitors come now what they see is a very different picture than the photos we took 15 years ago.  Now in addition to the smiles on the children attending primary school, they also see high school girls making their dreams a reality through education, and University students looking ahead to graduation and starting their own businesses.   Thank you for making this a beautiful reality for over 200 children in our current care and the 70+ who have moved beyond our care and are now finding their own way.

In additional to kids it is my unique position to also see our facilities.  Today I want to highlight those of you who have also shared that vision over the years have contributed to our Capital and Building Funds.   Our children are only as safe as their environment allows them to be and that is
Roof1why your special support to our buildings, infrastructure, and security is so important.  Over the years our buildings have been painted, generators bought and fixed, pumps installed, wells dug for a constant safe water supply, and roofs have gone up for shelter from the storms.  All of these projects are prioritized, budgeted, and done with local companies and labor.  When you give to our capital fund you are enhancing the lives of our children but also lifting up our Hinche community.  I can’t thank you enough.

This year we have been renovating and building a new kitchen area.  This is only possible with additional giving beyond our operational needs and we are so appreciative.  With our new space our children can study out of the rain and our cooks can prepare meals while it rains!  Our transition to gas cooking is nearly complete and we are grateful!!  We will be saving money going forward by not buying charcoal and saving the environment at the same time!  With your support we no longer need to procure 150 lbs of charcoal each week to keep our fires hot!  Thank you! Thank you!

Lastly, while we have been working together to change the lives of others, you have also changed mine.  In a time where the world seems to be turning inward I am grateful to know the exact opposite is true.  Alongside each other we will always be stronger, Thank you.

-Lefort Jean Louis, Founder and Director Maison Fortune Orphanage

Maison FortunéSurround Yourself With Good People-Good Happens!
read more

Greetings from the Maison Fortune Foundation Board

 As some of you may know, my name is Ryan Kenrick and I am the President of the Maison Fortune Foundation. During a recent lunch with the MFO Foundation’s fearless Executive Director -Mary Kenrick-web-FamilyKwasniewski – Mary challenged me to write about what continues to draw me to Maison Fortune.  I’m a 34-year-old attorney with a wife and young family, so naturally I bristled at yet another task to add to my never ending “to-do list.”  Nonetheless, I accepted Mary’s challenge and spent some time asking myself a series of questions about why I stay involved.  It was a worthwhile exercise and really re-energized my commitment to the Foundation.  Today I thought I’d share with you two of the most important questions I asked myself…

  • Why do I believe in Maison Fortune’s mission? As the President of the Foundation I think about this question a lot.  Haiti is a complicated country with complicated problems, but fortunately, the answer to this question is simple.   I believe in Maison Fortune because we focus on educating Haiti’s youth.  In my eyes, educating our residents is the single most important thing that Maison Fortune does—period.   If Haiti’s circumstances are ever going to change then it’s the educated Haitian youth that will drive that change.   A common criticism of American NGO’s is that we think we have all the answers.  At MFO we know we don’t have all the answers.  Instead, we believe that if we give our kids the educational tools they need then they will come up with the answers for themselves.  This is what drives us to put a premium on education at Maison Fortune.  In our primary school we teach 291 kids (this includes over 176 local kids from the neighboring town).  We send another 96 kids to high school and 23 of our young adults are currently attending university or technical school.    I firmly believe that the education these young people receive with the support of Foundation will make a difference in their lives and their communities.
  • Are we making any progress? The answer is unequivocally, yes!  When the Maison Fortune Orphanage first started in 2002, Jean Louis (the founder of the Orphanage) only had the resources to focus on the most basic needs of our kids—food and shelter.  We’ve come a long way from those humble beginnings.  With the financial support of the Foundation, Maison Fortune has grown into a quite an impressive operation.  We now have two campuses providing a home for over 175 boys and girls.  In addition, over 700 meals are served on these campuses every day (this includes meals to the local kids who attend our primary school).  With their basic food and shelter needs met, our kids can focus on their education and they are excelling at every level!  Perhaps this is most evident in the 23 young men and women who have finished high school and are currently studying in universities and technical schools throughout Haiti.  These future leaders of Haiti are truly at the cusp of becoming contributing adults in the Haitian society—and best of all, they know it!  When you look at them you can see it in their eyes.   When you listen to them talk about internship opportunities and career paths you can hear their confidence and hope.  This is absolutely progress and it’s what gives me the motivation to keep supporting the Foundation.

Whether you’re a longtime supporter or a new friend to the Orphanage, I challenge you to spend some time today thinking about your own involvement.  You can and you do make a difference in the lives of these kids.  It’s important to reflect on this from time to time.

As always, I’d like to thank you for your thoughts, prayers and support.

Maison FortunéGreetings from the Maison Fortune Foundation Board
read more