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Young People in Haiti Hard at Work

May 29, 2024
Haiti IMPACT Club in the Miragoane, Haiti, community fixing a dirt road so that motorcycles can travel safely on it.
Haiti IMPACT Club in the Miragoane, Haiti, community fixing a dirt road so that motorcycles can travel safely on it.
Photo: Resonate Global Mission

The small crowd cheered as water poured from the pipe.

For the first time, the community residents in Bainet, Haiti, wouldn’t need to walk the long, rocky path to gather water for drinking, cleaning, and bathing. Students serving through Resonate Global Mission’s IMPACT club in Bainet made it possible to bring water to this community.

IMPACT clubs are one of the key ways Resonate works to spread the gospel in Haiti. Over half the people in the country are under age 25, so there’s a huge need—and opportunity—for ministry among young people.

Resonate IMPACT clubs equip and empower young people to be servant leaders in their communities. Students from elementary school through high school meet together every week to learn more about the gospel and living out their faith. They learn about leadership from a biblical perspective.

Whether students are gathering in a school, at a church building, or under a big tree outside, they learn to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to work toward kingdom transformation in their community. They read the Bible, complete lessons on leadership, and organize community-service projects, like bringing water to Bainet.

And you won’t find an IMPACT club without joyful shouts and laughter. At IMPACT, kids learn by playing games and having fun together.

“We empower youth,” said Sattoya Metelus, who leads Resonate’s IMPACT clubs in Haiti. “The club leaders don’t do the projects; the students come up with the ideas, go to the community, and do the work.”

This is true even now, as Haiti is experiencing a time of crisis. Following a presidential assassination in July 2021, gangs have overrun much of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital city, major port, and commercial center. 

“There’s no life wherever there are gang members,” said Metelus. “We can’t do anything. There’s no school. There’s no church. There’s no community. We are terrorized. They terrorize our youth.”

Away from Port-au-Prince, in rural communities like Bainet, the story is a bit different, however. Gang violence still affects life there, but more indirectly—gangs patrol roads and prevent what little food, fuel, and other necessities that can be found in the city from making it out to outlying communities. This makes life more expensive and challenging in communities that already tend to lack infrastructure such as water, electricity, and road services.

Metelus and her Resonate colleagues take things day by day. Every morning, those who are living in the city check to see if it’s safe to go into the office or to travel where they’re planning to lead training. They assess which ministry can safely continue and what work can be done in the city and throughout the country.

Metelus says she’s thankful that 23 of Haiti’s 30 IMPACT clubs are still active and meeting, and Resonate staff recently trained leaders to start three more clubs.

While gang violence in Haiti has forced some of the IMPACT clubs to close in order to keep students and their families safe, most of the clubs are still meeting and serving their communities through various projects. 

In Bainet, the students who are part of the IMPACT club wanted to help supply water to their community so that their friends and families wouldn’t need to walk so far to access water. Their community stood behind them, and the club organized a list of supplies they would need in order to transfer water from a stream located further up the mountain from their community. They determined they would need piping, cement, shovels, and more.

Using money raised from the community and a grant from Resonate, they purchased the necessary supplies and got to work. An adult in their community who is skilled in construction helped to guide the young people in their work. After weeks of hard work, Bainet finally had a place to gather water in their community.

In the Miragoane community, the local IMPACT club fixed a road so that motorcycles could travel safely on it. In Carrefour, the IMPACT club worked with the community to build bathrooms to help keep the environment clean and healthy for everyone.

Scheineida Beaubrun, who works with IMPACT clubs, said she can see the progress in communities where IMPACT is involved—and that keeps her going.

“Everyone in the program loves what they’re doing, and they love one another . . . each person learns how to play a leadership role in the program. From the club members to the coaches, everyone brings their unique leadership skills every day,” said Beaubrun.

“Through these challenges [in Haiti], so many places are closing,” added Metelus. “Never once did we have the idea to close IMPACT clubs in the country. When we can’t operate in one area, God gives us the opportunity to work somewhere else where they really need us.”

While some of the clubs in Port-au-Prince have had to shut down for the safety of students and their families, some neighborhoods in the capital, like Delmas 24, are still safe enough for an IMPACT club to hold meetings. 

“They regularly hear gunshots from gangs around their community and fear that one day they will need to leave their homes due to attempted gang attacks,” said Metelus. 

“These children do not have any other form of entertainment or places to have fun, and it has been a stressful situation for both the children and parents. Not only has the IMPACT club here helped children of different ages to have fun and to be active citizens in their community, but their parents consider the program a blessing.”

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians have been displaced because of violence. While some leave the country, some move to other communities throughout Haiti where it feels safer. Children and families have been scattered from IMPACT clubs that have closed in the city, but many have come into communities where other IMPACT clubs are actively meeting.

“The country’s future might seem hopeless, but the program brings joy to each community it serves. God is still faithful to his children in chaotic moments,” said Metelus.

“I have had to grow in trust and learning and just being present with our team and the people in Haiti,” said Resonate missionary Johnny Gryglewicz. “To always look for positives or results is good, but there is also growth and, dare I say, blessing from sitting alongside people who are in difficult situations. I keep thinking of the description of Jesus in Isaiah, where it says he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. That's quite a way to describe someone who was healing people and performing miracles! We are in a season of feeling forgotten, feeling hopeless, feeling despair. I have been trying to find God in the midst of that.”

Will you please pray for Haiti’s IMPACT clubs?

  • Pray for the safety of Resonate staff and of IMPACT students, club leaders, and their families.
  • Pray for communities where IMPACT clubs have had to close.
  • Pray for the 131 boys and 238 girls who are part of IMPACT clubs. Pray for them to grow in their relationship with Jesus and in understanding what it means to live out their faith.
  • Pray for online training strategies and ways to reach out to Haiti’s communities.