Last month Project Picture Day went back to Île-à-Vache, Haiti to photograph and inspire children. Over 700 children were photographed in four schools on the island. I asked one volunteer, Dominick DeMonte, about his project in Haiti and he shared his thoughts, experiences, and insights.
Why did you decide to go to Haiti?
I knew the experience of Haiti – the place, people and culture – would have a great impact on me and expand my comfort zone. It would help me expand as a person and any opportunity that I find that will do that, sign me up.
Describe why Project Picture Day is important to you.
PPD provides children with tools to expand their minds. Books to write, study, to create in. These are tools that every child should have to develop into their best selves.
Can you discuss the reaction of children in the schools?
Sure! Priceless! The excitement greeted by every individual kid was heart warming! And when we handed out the portraits, books and pencils we were filled with gratitude.
How was this experience different from your school picture days growing up?
Well this time I was behind the camera and this was more personal. We printed the photos ourselves, handed them out ourselves and had a genuine connection with each kid that walked up. My picture day growing up was, “Get in line, smile… okay, next!”
What impact did this trip have on the community?
We provided the children with new school supplies. For a community that doesn’t have much every little bit counts. I’m really looking forward to going back next year and I think they feel the same. We were sad to leave and they were too, so the impact was positive.
What is the one most important things you took away from your time helping to impact children in Haiti?
Having this opportunity has offered me knowledge that what we have to offer others will come from our sense of unity – when you act in kindness, you are an instrument of love. There’s more to the deed than the doer and what’s been done. I myself and I guarantee the team, an amazing group of people I worked along side, feel transformed and connected to a deeper sense of identity. We had the opportunity not only to help relieve suffering but to grow in wisdom, experience greater unity, and have a good time while we were doing it.