"The Sense of Community": CHP Supporters Share What Inspires Them

Ahead of Colorado Gives Day on December 4th, we’ve been asking our supporters what inspires them to stay involved. Below, find short interviews with seven friends of the Colorado Haiti Project who attended our annual Haiti for the Holidays event this past Sunday. Special thanks to volunteer Dani McClean for conducting these interviews! The text below has been lightly edited for clarity.

Are you a CHP supporter willing to participate in a future iteration of this series? Email rachel@coloradohaitiproject.org


Jennifer Parkes, Supporter

How did you become involved in CHP? My husband, Glenn, coached Belony, Wynn’s son [Wynn is CHP’s Executive Director], in soccer many years ago. Through Wynn we became familiar with CHP.

What is the most beautiful thing about Haiti? I’m a nurse, and so I went to Haiti in March of last year to observe Nurse Dorceley in the clinic. I was the only medically trained person in the group that went, and the experience was amazing. I loved the coastal landscape—it was beautiful, untouched by tourism. The second we pulled up into the school campus after arriving in Petit Trou de Nippes, some teenage boys asked if we wanted to go swimming and brought us to this isolated swimming hole where we were the only ones. It was an incredible way to start the trip.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Be invisible.


Elizabeth Dowling, Associate Board Member

How did you become involved in CHP? I went to the Boulder Film Festival and saw the Paul Farmer film [Bending the Arc]. Afterwards, I went to the discussion with a friend and met Wynn [CHP’s Executive Director] there. I had been searching for an organization to work with and CHP clicked.

What is the most beautiful thing about Haiti? I went to Haiti four times, but not with CHP, to adopt my daughter, Jenna. The adoption agency encouraged me to go with other individuals who were adopting Haitian children after the earthquake, and so we all went to Haiti together and stayed together. Because we spent so much time together, we all became really close, and we all became parents and families at the same time. I do want to go with CHP soon!

For me, the most beautiful thing is the spirit of the people, particularly of the kids. Sometimes it’s a stubborn survival spirit, but the kids are innately filled with joy. I think a lot of it has to do with faith. They have hope for the future because of their faith, because they believe that they’re watched over.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2019? I’m going to Rwanda in June; I was there twice last year, but this time I am going to do in-depth interviews with kids about their religion and spirituality, and how Compassion International supports that aspect of their lives.


Andrew Mott, Volunteer

How did you become involved in CHP? I was looking for a volunteer opportunity when I moved to Colorado in 2016. CHP was close to Louisville, where I was living at the time. I found the website and decided to go to the building and knocked on the door. I’ve been volunteering ever since.

What is the most beautiful thing about Haiti? I went to Haiti in 2017 with Teresa Henry. I got to see Petit Trou and St. Paul’s, and I did a little English and entrepreneurial skills teaching. What I found most beautiful was the sense of community—how everyone comes together to accomplish tasks that benefit the community as a whole.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering for CHP? I really like to draw and paint, particularly animals and abstract pieces. I didn’t study art, but I’ve drawn my whole life.


Magen Phillips, Intern

How did you become involved in CHP? I moved here with my husband from Burlington, Vermont last summer and needed to complete a practicum for my Master’s in Public Health. Originally, I had found Colorado Haiti Project because I knew the organization hosted events and needed volunteers for them; but then I completed my thesis on Colorado Haiti Project’s health agents. I really like their focus on local empowerment of Haitian leaders and the emphasis placed on health.

Have you been to Haiti? I have not been yet, but I hope to in April!

What do you do when you’re not helping out at CHP? I like to hike, run–basically do anything outside.


Paul Chyc, Board Member

How did you become involved in CHP? I went to the same church as Teresa Henry [Board Vice President]. Teresa told me about a trip to Haiti, and I went. I had been to other “third world” countries like Brazil and China, but Haiti was the most heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. I went in 2013, well after the earthquake, and people were still living under tarps. But on the tarp roofs, they had written, “this is the home of so-and-so”. Even under such conditions, they made it…home. They didn’t have a whole lot, but they still enjoyed life. It makes you appreciate what you have.

Why do you still support CHP today, five years after your initial trip to Haiti? I believe it is a worthwhile endeavor. What we’re doing there is critically important.

What is the most beautiful thing about Haiti? The relationships Haitians have with their families and communities. It’s different than here—they have a closeness to their family that is unusual here. And they’re not family just because someone happened to marry someone else; it’s deeper than that.  

What is your superpower? Staying calm–or at least looking calm–under pressure!


Anna Wing, Volunteer

How did you become involved in CHP? Actually, my husband and I are in the process of adopting a Haitian child. We’re hoping to adopt in 2019; it’s already been a 2-year process! So we had heard about CHP’s Farm Dinner and decided that we wanted to sponsor a table. Afterwards, I asked Wynn if he could use any help and here I am.

What is the most beautiful thing about Haiti? I went to Haiti in 2013 to work at an orphanage, and on medical missions with my uncle. What I think is most beautiful about Haiti is that people are just so incredibly joyful. Some live in such horrible circumstances, but they still have this tremendous sense of joy. It’s a beautiful thing.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? I think I’d like to fly.


Scott Richards, Associate Board Member

How did you become involved in CHP? I became friends with Wynn [CHP’s Executive Director] at a CHP fundraiser. I really got passionate about CHP by just getting to know Wynn and learning why he does it. I think CHP is the real deal—the organization makes legit and tangible change. You can’t really help everyone, but you can really make a gigantic difference to a few people, and that’s what CHP is about.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2019? Spending time with my kids, who are 18 and 20. My daughter has been in Nepal for the last three months and my son has been going to college, so I am really excited for them to be home for a bit. Also, I’m going to Haiti in April for the first time!

Interested in joining our community of supporters and/or joining us on a trip to Haiti? Email us at info@coloradohaitiproject.org! We’d love to hear from you.

Wynn Walent