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“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

It’s a popular question to ask a child or teenager, but if you’re a young person in Haiti, you might not have a lot of hope for your future. But that’s changing through Resonate Global Mission partner IMPACT clubs.

A Country Facing Challenges

Haiti is a beautiful country with lush landscape and a rich culture, but the country’s history has also been fraught with military coups and natural disasters. The economy is in shambles, and it affects everyday life. Unemployment is high. Roads in the countryside are full of potholes. Many people don’t have access to clean drinking water. 

“In Haiti, over half the population is under 25. All those young people, there is a sense of hopelessness about the future,” said Johnny Gryglewicz, a Resonate missionary who works in leadership development in Haiti.

That’s where IMPACT clubs come in. A Resonate initiative, IMPACT clubs equip and empower children, from elementary school through high school, to be servant leaders in their communities. Learning about leadership from a biblical perspective, students learn to be the hands and feet of Jesus and work toward kingdom transformation in their communities. 

Teenagers in an IMPACT club work together to problem solve.

More than 20 IMPACT clubs throughout Haiti are raising up young leaders. The club might gather inside a church building or outside in the shade of a big tree. Many young people are invited by friends—but the laughter and shouting might draw them in too.

“When you go to an IMPACT club … you will have fun,” said Jean Fevrier Cherubin, who directs Resonate’s IMPACT clubs in Haiti.

Every meeting starts with a game, and no one sits on the sidelines or just watches. Everyone participates. Everyone plays a role. It’s easy to smile when you’re at an IMPACT club.

And the fun continues as students learn about leadership through activities, participation, and practice. In a country where there are seemingly too-few resources for the looming challenges people face, IMPACT stresses the importance of being an active citizen. 

Every two or three months, each club plans and implements a community service project. The first few projects young people tackle are done completely with resources that are available to them.

“We don’t want them to be dependent on us, the government, or other organizations,” said Fevrier.

With each service project, IMPACT teaches young people how to identify a problem, explore the root issue of the problem, and discover creative ways to solve problems with resources that are at their fingertips. As IMPACT clubs continue tackling projects to serve their communities—and find they might need a few extra resources beyond their reach—clubs can submit proposals to Resonate for financial support.

“We want them to serve as a servant leader. We want them to solve the problem as a community member,” said Fevrier.

And God is working through young people in IMPACT clubs for kingdom transformation.

Jean Fevrier Cherubin, who leads IMPACT clubs in Haiti, teaches a lesson.

Concern for Neighbors during COVID-19

When COVID-19 hit, the Delmas 24 club set up handwashing stations in their community. But this club wasn’t just concerned about their own neighbors—they were concerned about people they never met living in other communities throughout the country.

“We have five communities who don’t have access to clean water,” said Fevrier. “The Delmas 24 club said they could help by producing hand sanitizer.”

With some money from Resonate and supervision from a local doctor, the IMPACT club made hand sanitizer and sent it to communities that did not have access to water to make their own handwashing stations.

Clean Water for the Community

In one community, there’s a river. People use the river for many things: to bathe, to get water for drinking and cooking, and to water their cattle. With the river being used for so many different things, people were getting sick.

The IMPACT club wanted to help keep people healthy, so they divided the river into sections. Up river, people could get water to drink and use in their house. A little further down, they could bathe. Further downstream yet, they could bring their cattle.

“That’s something they don’t need a lot of money for,” said Johnny. “It's a practical, tangible, project.”

With a little extra financial support from Resonate, the IMPACT club also constructed partitions where people could shower.

Unexpected Support from Gang Leaders

In some communities of Haiti, gangs have a lot of control. During the coronavirus pandemic, many local leaders and government agencies have been providing resources and mobilizing staff to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But in some areas, these leaders needed permission from the chief of the gang to access the community. In many cases, that permission was denied.

One IMPACT club in Port Au Prince, Haiti’s capital, was ready to help educate their community about COVID-19 and how to prevent the spread—but the gang leader wouldn’t allow it.

“And then a miracle happened,” said Fevrier. “One day during their preparatory meeting, some of the gang leaders showed up and offered their help. They committed to be involved in everything.”

The collaboration between the IMPACT club and the gang helped make the young people’s efforts even more effective.

“The community members saw the gangs, thought this was important, and it made the community more receptive to their message,” said Fevrier. 

Resonate partner IMPACT clubs throughout Haiti are giving hope to young people and equipping them to be servant leaders—but these clubs are making a difference in entire communities as people witness kingdom transformation.

“What we love about IMPACT is we teach them that everyone can do something right where they are,” said Johnny. “You can change the future. Not just return Haiti to what it was but to take it someplace it’s never been.”