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To Haiti with Love

Clare Coleman, a Grade 7 student at Corner Brook Intermediate, won top honours for all Grade 7 students in western Newfoundland in the Turning Points Program with her essay "To Haiti with Love." Turning Points is a program that has students write about a significant event that impacted their lives. It involves a process of self-reflection and discussions with teachers and peers leading to writing a narrative essay about a significant event in which students organize and express their thoughts that guide their lives. Brock White of White Hills Academy and his essay Nobody Lives Forever placed second and Emma McCarthy of St. Michael’s Elementary placed third.
Clare Coleman, a Grade 7 student at Corner Brook Intermediate, won top honours for all Grade 7 students in western Newfoundland in the Turning Points Program with her essay

The following is Clare Coleman’s winning submission for the Turning Points program:

“Clare, come watch this video of Aunt Maggie!” my mom called out. I was finishing my math homework and wondered what karaoke song Aunt Maggie was singing this time. I walked into the TV room not expecting to watch the most life-changing, interesting video I’ve ever seen. It was a short documentary on Team Broken Earth. Team Broken Earth was started in 2011 by Dr. Andrew Furey from Newfoundland to provide education and medical relief in response to the earthquake disaster in Haiti. It showed clips of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and optometrists working in Haiti and my aunt, a pediatric nurse, was one of them.

I was so inspired when I learned Aunt Maggie was a part of this unbelievable medical team I had to call her right away to learn more.

She told me stories of the patients and families she helped and of some that she, unfortunately, was unable to help. She also explained how desperate the situation was in Haiti. The destruction from the earthquake, the number of sick and injured people, the lack of trained medical professionals and resources, the gunshots at night.

I was horrified. How could this be happening? What could I do?

I felt so small and helpless. I felt like there was nothing I could do until I was older, more experienced, more qualified. It played on my mind. I rewatched the video a few weeks later and a clip caught my attention.

The Lions Club had partnered with Team Broken Earth to provide prescription eyeglasses to the people of Haiti.

“That’s it! I can’t go to Haiti, but I can collect eyeglasses!” I contacted the Lions Club and they were eager for me to help.

I called friends and family, printed off signs and placed bins in my school, churches and stores.

Together with my school, friends and family our community was able to work together to collect over 700 pairs of prescription eyeglasses. It was our way to create some peace for the less fortunate of Haiti.

It’s been two years since I watched the Team Broken Earth video and I still remind myself daily how important it is to help and be kind to others.

We don’t need to wait. Outreach can happen at home, in our school and in our community.

Youth can make a difference and it is important that we remember that we all belong to one another.

By working as one, we can build our community and act for peace.

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