Los Altos High School’s Haiti Solidarity Club continues to support its sister school in Haiti with fundraising events and trips to assist with construction of a new school.
SOPUDEP (Society of Providence United for the Economic Development of Port-au-Prince), the Haitian-founded and -run grassroots social agency, provides free, accessible education to adults and children and supports economic empowerment for the poor. Its goal is to use the power of education to improve the quality of life for the poorest members of the community and instill pride and hope for a better future.
The SOPUDEP School serves more than 800 low-income children from prekindergarten through 12th grade. Haitian Réa Dol founded the school, part of a broader local initiative that also supports Haitian women’s rights and economic independence.
The Los Altos High club is actively involved in supporting the school by learning about Haitian culture, history and politics and engaging the Los Altos community in their cause.
The connection between Los Altos High and SOPUDEP began in 2010 when students sought ways to help with relief efforts after an earthquake devastated the Caribbean nation. Seth Donnelly, Los Altos High civics teacher and member of the Haiti Action Committee, knew Dol from his many trips to Haiti.
Donnelly led the first delegation of students that traveled to Haiti to provide direct aid and help with construction of a new SOPUDEP School.
Since 2010, Los Altos students have raised more than $200,000 through rummage sales, silent auctions, concerts and other community events. Their efforts have provided the main source of funding for both the purchase of land and ongoing construction of the SOPUDEP School, according to Donnelly. Over the years, seven delegations and more than 100 Los Altos High students have traveled to Haiti to deliver donations and assist with construction.
Barry Groves, superintendent of the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District, traveled with Donnelly and 24 Los Altos High students to Haiti last February.
“My sojourn to Haiti was the most impactful experience of my 35-plus years in education,” he said. “The Haitians are so needy and at the same time remarkably appreciative and willing to do whatever it takes to improve their lot in life. I am so proud of the work that our students are doing.”
Another delegation of 28 students is slated to travel to Haiti next month.
Members of the Haiti Solidarity Club have scheduled a silent auction 2-4:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at First & Main Sports Lounge, 397 Main St., Los Altos. All funds raised go directly to support SOPUDEP and other programs that promise a better future for Haiti.
To donate to SOPUDEP, visit sopudep.org, click “Donate” on the program line and select your choice of organizations. Reference “SOPUDEP Los Altos HS” in the program line.