Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.
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W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 7 158 "an enormous school that serves local students" good works good way to describe most of the kids I encountered during my brief stay last June. Given the unending onslaught of natural disasters to which Haiti has been subject (earthquakes, epidemics, hurricanes, and endemic poverty), the walls surrounding the orphanage encompass a small miracle. Now a third cohort, the product of Hurricane Matthew, whose path across the southwest quarter of Haiti tore the area to shreds and left behind any number of orphans and children at risk, is being formed. More than 30 new kids showed up late last fall in the dead of night, referred by an informal network of clergymen. After a quick health check by Dr. Carrie Tibbles, the orphanage's medical director, they were washed up, given a snack, and put to bed. They bunked down, three to a mattress, in the already crowded orphanage. "I was asleep in the visitors' wing when outside my bedroom door I heard murmuring at one in the morning," says Tibbles, who back in Boston is an emergency physician and Director of Graduate Medical Education at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "I was just down parentless or at-risk by Hurricane Matthew—Lee's sense of humor and firm resolve carry him through days that lead from one challenge to another. I first encountered Lee at a Rotary meeting in Natick in 2015. Listening to him you "get it," immediately. His cause is just; his mission critical; the challenges he shares with his Haitian colleagues over- whelming. I got so intrigued by his words that day that I decided to take a closer look for myself. And this is what I saw. The orphanage, I discovered, after a long flight and a harrowing drive through the impoverished streets of Port-au-Prince, had gathered two cohorts of kids of roughly 75 each in number. The first, assembled over two decades ago in founder Marion Austin's time, is now living inde- pendently or in small groups and is active in college or trade school. The second, the one I encountered in the halls and classrooms of the orphanage, was assembled about three years ago and ranges in age from four or five into late teens. Along with sheltering all those kids, Hope for the Children of Haiti runs an enormous school that serves local students, with more than half on scholarship. "Thriving" is a A scene from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew H O P E F O R T H E C H I L D R E N O F H A I T I