LCS is the Louverture Cleary School based outside of Port-au-Prince in Haiti. In the early days of this effort, I worked with the international ambassador corps and charismatic Catholic ladies of Petionville to keep 40 Haitian boys clothed, fed, safe, educated, and ultimately employed. To be clear, a hundred other people made all this happen, I just lived with the boys part time and did my best to make the place run. Even at the time, the irony of sending a 22-year-old American boy to take care of 40 kids was not lost on us. We volunteers were part of the mechanism that collected donations. Nevertheless it was a life-changing experience that informed much of my life since then.
LCS provides and advocates for education as the most effective tool for Haitians to transform their lives, communities and country. 90 percent of LCS alumni are either in university or in professional careers in Haiti, earning 10x the per-capita income of Haiti.
Louverture Cleary School is now a 500-student International Baccaleurate k-13 academy. The pass rate on the IB exam is nearly 100%, and the Catholic charisme culture embues students with a sense of their powerful Haitian identity and their responsbililty to their community and county. Tuition is based on a sliding scale; wealthy families who attend the school pay costs commensurate with elite high schools. Others may be asked to pay nothing, and receive financial help for their families.
But here is the thing: the last time I visited LCS to see my god children Ketty and Petuel, when I entered the compound not a single Haitian head turned to me. Every staff member, teacher, and administrator is Haitian. My presence was not even a curiosity — and this is how it should be. You’ve seen those pictures of the white kid surrounded by black kids hoping for candy or a pencil. This should never happen. If you have those photos of yourself, maybe just burn them.
Please visit the Haitian Project web site for more information:https://www.haitianproject.org/
The leadership and spiritual guides of LCS can be found on their Facebook page and web site. Just want to point out that this tousled guy in a blue blazer quietly kept LCS afloat and focused from day one. Charles Henry Wharton. One guy. Big heart. An open wallet when it mattered most. As I see it, that’s one good way to use privilege.