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17565: Lemieux: New Utah: Pleasant Grove residents help children in Haiti (fwd)

From: JD Lemieux <lxhaiti@yahoo.com>


Pleasant Grove residents help children in Haiti

Perry Bratt's life changed forever last year when he was
told about a need in Haiti. His friend, Paul Cook learned
of a need in Haiti for an orphanage. Cook told Bratt, of
Pleasant Grove's Bratt Landscaping, and some others about
the situation and from there the proverbial ball started

When Bratt first learned of the need for an orphanage in
Haiti he was not familiar with the area or the people. But
on his first trip there in the summer of 2002, he said, "It
bit me."

His heart was bitten by the need and the love he felt
there, and it has never let go.

Seeing the need in Haiti, Cook, Bratt and a team of others
have founded "A Child's Hope Foundation" in order to
address the needs of youngest of Haiti's orphans.

A family in Haiti, the Duncan family, donated three acres
of land to the foundation for the orphanage. The foundation
has collected financial resources for building the
orphanage as well as collected human resources.

Many Utah County residents have made the trip to Haiti to
work on the orphanage and serve the people in the
surrounding area.

Some volunteers go to Haiti for months at a time. Others go
in construction groups that typically go for eight days.

"The smallest group we've ever taken is 12 and the largest
group, 53," Bratt said. "A year ago, we took 53 on
Christmas Day."

The orphanage is quite an undertaking.

"The orphanage itself, it's first phase is 14,000 square
feet and will hold about 150 orphans comfortably," said
Bratt, the foundation director of construction and land
development. "It's designed so we could add other wings to
it and take it another floor or two up."

Bratt's tenth trip to Haiti will start on Christmas Day,
when he will take another group of volunteers to the small
village of Ti Mache, where the orphanage is located. Ten
trips in 18 months is a lot, but he is motivated by helping
the children.

"We hope to have our first orphans in this January," Bratt
said. "Our primary objective is to get these children
adopted into good homes."

Bratt's father, Ross Bratt of American Fork, has made the
trip to Haiti three times. When he made the trip last
Christmas he was able to bring back a very special gift for
a couple in Idaho.

"I got to bring a little baby," Ross said with a broad

Perry Bratt noted that on the questionnaire filled out by
all the volunteers who go to Haiti, an overwhelming
majority say what they enjoyed most about the trip was
holding the orphans, playing with the orphans or serving
the orphans.

There are many here in Utah helping the foundation in ways
other than by going to Haiti.

When Blue Ribbon Storage owner, Joe Spencer, heard about "A
Child's Hope Foundation" he offered to help by donating two
of his largest units for items going to Haiti.

"Because we didn't have to pay for the storage, we could
use all that money to help get more goods over there,"
Bratt said.

The airlines allow the volunteers to take two large totes
each on the plane. Bratt and the volunteers have taken well
over 600 tote's full of goods.

"We've had as many as 30 BYU students there at the storage
unit sorting through all the stuff that comes and packing
it as tight as they could pack it," Bratt said.

"When shoes are donated, we stuff every inch full of
whatever we can put in there so that we can take as much as
we can every time we go."

Other items in the totes include baby formula, medication,
toys and clothes.

"It's hard not to be moved to tears," Bratt said about when
the totes are opened, because the people there have

"Most the people that go, end up only coming back with what
they have on their backs ... they give everything away
because they want to," Bratt said.

Bratt's wife, Jana, and three of their sons have gone to
Haiti. He says the experience has changed his family.

"Material things just do not mean that much any more to my
children or me," he said. "We get by with far less and feel
far happier with what little we do get by with."

As a leader in the foundation, Bratt said, "Some of the
most satisfying experiences for me is seeing how it changes
not only the lives of the Haitians that we work with and
serve, but also the lives of all the volunteers that go.
They come back so changed."

For more information about donating, volunteering or
adopting, see www.achildshopefoundation.org or call
801-434-9200 or 866-217-KIDS (5437).

This story appeared in New Utah on page 1.

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