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Local foundation, donors seek to impact the lives of Haitian children

By: DeAnne LeBlanc


Kyle McClellan with the ambulance to be donated by Brace For Impact 46

Kyle McClellan is used to hard work, patience and persistence. He grew up in St. Louis and accomplished every boy’s dream – winning a World Series Championship with the Cardinals.

McClellan and his wife, Bridget, now are raising their family locally and investing much of their time and resources into Brace For Impact 46, a nonprofit organization they began after a life-changing trip to Haiti.

Brace For Impact 46 provides funding and resources in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, particularly for the benefit of the IDADEE Children’s Home, its primary and soon-to-be secondary school, and medical clinic. The schools serve not only the 40 children who live at the Children’s Home, but also 120 children in the community, one of the poorest in Haiti.

Likewise, the medical clinic meets the needs of the entire region, including remote villages. When the clinic first opened, the medical team expected about 1,000 people per month to use its services; instead, they saw over 350 people in the first day.

The foundation relies on local leadership for knowledge of community needs; then, it helps to meet those needs with financial support. Whether investing in children or families, the goal is to create leaders that will realize their potential and someday use their knowledge to impact their communities in a positive way.

According to the McClellans, everyone needs someone to champion them and, although it may look differently around the world, Brace For Impact is in the business of championing those looking for an opportunity to have a successful future.

Two years ago, a friend of the McClellans, who requested anonymity, joined them on a trip to Haiti. He was impacted by his experiences there in a profound way. Later, Brace for Impact found out that an ambulance had been donated to the Haitian clinic by this same man. The McClellans were stunned and overwhelmed. But Bridget said the experience proves the faith behind the foundation.

Of Brace For Impact 46, Bridget said, “My first thought was, ‘How much work is this going to take?’ But I have learned so much from the Haitian people. They have such a positive attitude and they live by the idea ‘If you have the will, then God will provide the way.’ The Haitians have so much grit and faith! They will find a way to make it happen if they can find the resources, and one thing we have is the resources.”

“The benefactor met Dr. Wislyn [Avenard] and knew that he wanted to do something to help resource him,” Kyle said.

Bridget added, “The ambulance is his way to serve the people of Haiti. People always try and find their role and ways to help if they can’t give monetarily, so this was his way of helping.”

Avenard, who today runs the clinic, grew up in the EBAC Children’s Home. He was sponsored for medical school, and then, three years ago, decided he wanted to give back to the community in which he grew up. Now, Avenard and his wife run the medical clinic, the McClellans explained.

“The fact that this clinic is run by one of the past orphans is amazing to me,” Bridget said. “It is what this is all about.”

Haitian children served by the IDADEE Children’s Home

Prior to the gift of the ambulance, the most the medical team could take into remote villages were small backpacks filled with a few medical supplies. However, the McClellans said, an ambulance is a game-changer. With it, the medical team will be able to transport an entire mobile clinic to villages in need.

Brace for Impact 46 was intentional about making sure the ambulance arrives in Haiti in perfect working order first. It spent $5,000 on spare parts, air filters, brakes and upgrading the tires so that the clinic would only need to worry about one thing – patients.

“Our focus, in everything we do, is to create sustainability in the community,” Kyle explained. “And that means making sure that what is sent to Haiti is actually useable and will provide something useful for the community.”

The McClellans returned to Haiti last month and said they were excited to see what had been done since their last visit.

“It was so exciting when they got the medical container full of supplies,” Bridget said, “I can’t wait until they get the container with the ambulance in it. It will make such a difference in this community.”

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