Southwest Key Awarded for Helping Haitian Orphans

July 19, 2011 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

In January of 2010, a massively catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti, leaving devastation in its wake.  Buildings were reduced to rubble, homes left in pieces, and many lives destroyed.  As international aid started flowing in to Haiti at this time of emergency, volunteers from Southwest Key joined the wave.

One of the immediate problems facing Haiti in the aftermath of the quake was the evacuation of Haitian orphans adopted by Americans.  In order to complete the adoptees’ paperwork that would allow them to live in the U.S. as soon as possible, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services needed all hands on deck.  The ORR asked Southwest Key to provide additional staff members to assist in this process, and many members of the Southwest Key Familia leapt at the opportunity to help the Haitian orphans.

Starting almost immediately after the quake hit, Southwest Key sent staff members to Florida to help the Haitian orphans complete the extensive paperwork process that was required in order for them to be adopted and live in the U.S.  For approximately one month, a rotating cadre of Southwest Key staff spent their days working with the Haitian kids as they arrived at a small airport near Orlando.  Staff members took turns feeding the children, playing with them, and filling out the forms that would allow them to live with their adoptive families in the U.S.

Left to right: Alexia Rodriguez and Karina Lopez of Southwest Key Programs, Ken Tota (Deputy Director of the ORR), Maureen Dunn (Director of the ORR)

On April 11, 2011, the ORR recognized Southwest Key’s efforts in helping the Haitian orphans by presenting the nonprofit with a Certificate of Appreciation.  The certificate thanks Southwest Key staff members “for their commitment to and tireless support of unaccompanied Haitian orphans evacuated from Haiti during the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake.”

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti can be quantified in terms of loss: lost cities, lost infrastructure, lost families.  Rebuilding what was lost is a long and arduous process, but every effort, both local and international, contributes to Haiti’s restoration.  Southwest Key is honored to be one of the many organizations that played a part in providing relief for Haiti.

– Kelle Kampa
Communications Intern
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Entry filed under: Immigration, Natural Disaster, Shelter Program, Southwest Key Programs.

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