For the past three summers, Sabrina Dillon has visited children living in an area of northwest Haiti that she calls “forgotten, because it has never been developed with running water, a sanitation system, technology, electricity, and many of the basic necessities that we all take for granted.”
Sabrina, 17, is a senior at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School and her missionary visits are accomplished through Miami Shores Presbyterian Church.
But showing love to the abandoned, ill, disabled and neglected children at House of Hope in La Pointe des Palmistes, Port-de-Paix is only part of Sabrina’s work.
She also has raised more than $8,000 and has sent numerous shipments of donated medical equipment and clothing to the orphanage and the adjacent Beraca Medical Center.
Never miss a local story.
“Sabrina was so changed by her experience that she started a service project called Rx for Hope,” said her mother, Thanh Dillon, in email. “She has been going for the past three summers to visit this forgotten area of Haiti to provide love and care for the 90 plus children at the House of Hope orphanage.”
Sabrina said in email that her experience that first summer was so “mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting” that she was compelled to make a difference. She created Rx for Hope, her “determined service effort.”
“I was appalled by the poverty and the dire conditions by which the villagers endure on a daily basis, as some homes were made of nothing more than sticks with sheets draped over them,” she said in email. “There are approximately 90-plus children, ages 0 to 18. I do say 0 because there are myriads premature babies left orphaned as their mothers die in childbirth due to the lack of medical supplies.”
One very special baby is Mitssain “Mitts” Norvilus, who Sabrina said weighed only 2 pounds when he arrived at the orphanage three years ago.
“I’m glad to report that he is now thriving and being loved by his many ‘brothers and sisters,’” she said.
Beraca Medical Center, the medical clinic and hospital, cares for the people of La Pointe and most of the people in the surrounding villages, about 500,000 inhabitants, Sabrina said.
“Their electrical power turns off between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., a sacrifice made by the hospital with only enough funds to power the generator for the other 15 hours of the day,” Sabrina said. “There is so much sickness and desperation among the revolving door of patients just waiting to get treatment, that is, if the clinic even has the needed remedy.”
Help does come though, she said.
“The hemophiliac center at the University of Miami miraculously got us in contact with a wonderful organization that works specifically with third-world countries to provide the needed treatment” to help a teenager who had been misdiagnosed, Sabrina said.
“Helping one child at a time as the primary goal had been attained,” she said.
Sabrina has reached out to South Florida doctors for donations like surgical gloves and gowns, antibiotic ointments, over the counter medications and fever reducers.
She also found generosity for Rx for Hope through the Aventura City of Excellence School, her former elementary and middle school. She held two fundraising campaigns—a used book sale and a special dress down day.
Sabrina said she personally hand-delivered the proceeds to House of Hope and the medical center.
“The positive response to Rx for Hope has been tremendous and I have shipped hundreds of much needed medical supplies in the past years. I also sold concessions for two consecutive summers at a day camp that I worked for as a counselor, Daytrippers in Hallandale,” she said.
And this summer, her younger sister Mackenzie joined the effort and made her first mission trip to Haiti. Mackenzie is a sophomore at Krop.
“The orphanage desperately needs not only basic medical care but also simple things like underwear, matching shoes, clothes, clean drinking water, and most of all, love, attention and knowing that they matter,” Sabrina said.
If you would like to contact Sabrina for information or to help, write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CALL TO ARTISTS
Start planning to be a part of the zany and fun Mad Hatter Arts Festival with Artisans and Vintage Marketplace in Coconut Grove, returning for its 12th season. It will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 19 and 20 at The Barnacle Historic State Park, 3485 Main Hwy. The Festival will be at the park and along the sidewalks of Main Highway.
Artists, artisans, and vendors who want to join in can be considered by submitting an application by Oct 15. The event will feature those working in all types of media, and include select vintage dealers, artisans, and plant vendors.
For information or to request an application, look under the “Participants” tab at http://www.madhatterartsfestival.com, or contact Teresa Sorrentino at 305-528-4971 or director@MadHatterArtsFestival.com. Applications can be downloaded from the site.
If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at email@example.com.