This month we saw real traction on our major 2021 goals related to both the construction endeavors and our trade school. Three (3) containers full of equipment, tools, and supplies for our tilt-up operations, metal fabrication facility, and auto care facility are in Palm Beach, FL awaiting loading on a ship for St Marc port in Haiti. Sherman Balch was able to travel to campus this month to begin the on-the-ground planning and preparation for these initiatives. On the trade school side, we had a successful inaugural alumni association meeting with Junior and the team leading a good event, with Craig Janofski on campus lending a hand. Due to Christie Gloster's tenacity, we are now (finally) in negotiation with NCCER regarding Extollo’s Welding program beginning the accreditation process. All of this is worth celebrating, and leads us to the next stage of these initiatives which will require more effort, focus, and productivity.
After months of program development, two months of direct preparation, and one week of intense on-the-ground
preparation, the first alumni event took place on April 24. Over 75 students registered for the event, with 56 showing up. All alumni filled out a survey during the event, giving us important information about how/if Extollo’s training has had an impact on their lives. While more than half of the graduates said that their training has helped them find employment, unsurprisingly, there are still many who are struggling to find work. There are a few reasons for this, one being that there simply may not be jobs in the area where they live. However, part of the Alumni Program's goal is to help connect graduates with companies and organizations who are looking for skilled labor, perhaps even holding job fairs on campus in the future.
Long term supporter and Extollo volunteer, Michael Elola, visited Haiti this month to help local farmers with some problems they are facing with their plantain crop. Michael first volunteered his construction skills with Extollo back in 2011, but is now using his passion for agriculture to empower Haitians to use new ways of gardening. Wherever Michael goes, he leaves his footprint - in the form of either traditional or aquaponic gardens and we are thankful!
Michael recently shared his experience with us in a blog post. You can read more here.
Take a look at a quick video that Michael put together of his trip!
It's always great to have Sherman back on campus. During his time, he was able to help the staff continue to organize, plan, and prepare for upcoming projects. In addition to helping with the water catchment upgrades, Sherman was able to work with Jonathan, the Tilt-up Coordinator, to lay out and set the lines for the new concrete batch plant.
The restroom facility is making progress!! Due to many challenges, we have been working on this project for many months. We are excited that progress is being made and we have an end in site!
An update from Jeff Ballard on the overall campus operations:
- “A lot of forward motion as we enter into our second month down, with Mike [Elola] setting up the garden supply water system and Sherman with the concrete batch plant layout everything is coming together.
- On this end we have been able to get our complete fleet of vehicles up and running and now are on the routine maintenance to help prevent any major breakdowns.
- The bath house [Restroom Facility] is moving forward quite well with the roof on and the gables screened in.
- The new Internet system upgrades that Craig installed have helped tremendously.
- Campus cleanup and organizations of items are starting to show in pride and enjoyment of the people we have working here.
- There are many other in between projects going on at the same time. It’s good to see our employees
staying busy and running out of time in a day to get things done and didn't realize it was that late already and
quitting time rather than waiting on quitting time.
Expand your worldview!
Join us this September in Haiti on an expedition of discovery. Meet with our Haitian staff, business and civic leaders, and our Haitian students to learn about life in Haiti and its rich history. Learn first hand the manifold dynamics that brought Haiti to where it is today which continue to dog its potential. You will see many things on your trip, but not from the vantage point of a mere tourist. You will be invited into pain, hopes, joys, challenges, and disappointments. For only when we first listen and learn can we be emptied of our sense of control enough to receive insight from on high.
We are looking for people to join our SEPTEMBER 2021 TRIP!! Click here for more information!