- Written on Tuesday, February 26, 2013
My name is Chrystal Gates. I am a stay-at-home mom, wife to an amazing husband of 12 years, Greg, and mother of two beautiful children, Carson 6 and Lauren 4. I have recently had the experience of traveling to Haiti and spending some time with Pastor Wilson, his family and the Wings of Refuge Children's Home. This has really opened my eyes to the opportunities we have to support this amazing cause! The Wings of Refuge Children's Home is still in the process of being built. With a goal to move from housing 19 children to housing 50 children, the need for funding is eminent. We have been very blessed to live in a situation that affords us the opportunity to give back, which is what I feel called to do after spending a week with such an amazing organization.
What led me to do this race?
After spending a week with Pastor Wilson's family and at the Wings of Refuge Children’s Home, I realized that I couldn't just walk away from this experience and not look back. With the children's home in need of construction, the caregivers in need of support and the children who are currently awaiting a place to live, I felt that it was my duty to raise awareness and give something back.
We are so blessed to have been born in a society where the needs are so little compared to other places. I had no true understanding of how great the country's state of destruction was until my travels. There are still hundreds of thousands of people who are lacking basic necessities. The Wings of Refuge Home represents hope to so many. I just wanted to encourage excitement about the work that God is doing! With the support of my running partners, Amanda McAlear & Craig Alfano, we hope to raise funds to help make this dream a reality for many more children. Thank you for taking the time to inquire about our race goal and for supporting our cause!
On Sunday March 24, 2013, Chrystal and two of her friends will be running in the AHEPA Suffolk County Half Marathon to raise funds & awareness for Wings of Refuge. If you would like to donate, check out Chrystal's Race Page. 100% of all donations received go directly to Wings of Refuge, Inc.
- Written on Friday, January 25, 2013
The past few months our Church has been on a journey collecting the money for the generator. I say collecting because the money was already there. When God calls you to something, what you need is right there. The money just needed to be brought together under one unified purpose. Stable electricity for the staff and children of Wings of Refuge seemed like a place Jesus was supporting so we took our cue to get involved.
It has been incredible watching people give generously and sacrificially to the lives of the 20 children we have grown to love so immensely. Each week, I would come into my office and find the recorded amount of how much had come in and more than once I danced and celebrated all around the offices.
I’m not sure there is anything more exciting than being a part of something bigger than yourself.
With still a few weeks left in the initiative, we had collected over and above our goal because everyone stepped up and gave something. Whether it was through purchasing a Christmas tree, shopping at our Open House (where all the funds went towards the generator), or simply writing a check, people stepped up and gave not because they have more than they know what to do with but because at the heart, they are givers. A giver does not wait to have much to give; they begin right where they are.
After the check had been written, I thought my part in the journey had come to a close but during my stay in Haiti last week, I was able to accompany Pastor as he searched out the best deal for the generator, see it installed, and see it kick on for the first time. What an exciting moment and beautiful day that was made possible because people responded to God’s leading to move outside of themselves and give.
What a joy and honor to be a part of what God is doing in Haiti!
-- written by Holly Aman from The Christian Life Center in Williamsburg, Va.
- Written on Thursday, November 08, 2012
It only had to happen once for me to remember it. Most of us have gone a day without power and perhaps after Hurricane Sandy, a few more of us can relate to a few days with no electricity.
Losing electricity in
When our Church found out about the new home that was being built, we sought the Lord on how He wanted us to get involved and support. We felt God leading us to provide the home with stable electricity in the form of a generator, so on October 7th, 2012, we launched our “Gifts of Hope” initiative. Our goal is to raise $15,000 for the generator. Through donations, a Christmas open house, selling t-shirts, bracelets, and Christmas trees to our community, we believe we will reach our goal in the next few weeks, not only because we want to, but because God’s heart is one of the most generous kind. No cost is too great for God and no sacrifice will be too great for us to give those 21 precious children stable access to light, cool air (or at least moving air), and running water.
In a country and a season where “I need this” is thrown around far too loosely, we have chosen to be a church who will prioritize the real needs of others. We count it a great blessing to be used in this way and are honored to support the ministry of Jesus in
This article was written by Holly Aman.
Thank you to the Christian Life Center in Williamsburg, Va., for their Gifts of Hope campaign to provide a generator for the new Wings of Refuge Children's Home in Haiti.
- Written on Tuesday, November 27, 2012
I decided to become a teacher for many reasons, but my biggest ambition as an educator is to help children in any way that I can. It's because of that passion within me that I felt driven to help WOR however I could. I discovered the Wings of Refuge Children's Home through my friend and co-founder, Alexa DeMiglio, and I've followed the progress of the home and the children since its start. My first experience helping the organization was at this year's golf outing where I volunteered, and it inspired me to do more.
I teach sixth grade at a beautiful school, Fieldstone Middle School in Montvale, NJ. Each year we hold numerous fundraisers and events to help various organizations, locally and globally. I knew that my school would be willing to help WOR, so after speaking to Alexa and learning that students were in desperate need of school supplies, I decided to hold a drive. I recorded a segment for our morning news show to explain this project and share some information about the struggles in Haiti with my school. Many of the students and staff were moved by the shocking statistics, and they loved seeing the faces of the beautiful children that they would be donating to.
For four weeks, collection boxes were placed in classrooms, and students were encouraged to donate school supplies such as notebooks, crayons, scissors, and more. At the end of the drive, TEN boxes full of supplies and over TWENTY backpacks were given to WOR to be sent to the children, and I can't put into words how proud I am of my school and the generosity of the students, staff and the community. It's easy to forget sometimes that beyond our homes and towns there may be people who are struggling, and it's important to remember to think of others and do what you can, big or small, to make a difference. I think that lesson was received by all students after participating in this drive. I'm looking forward to seeing photos of the children with their new supplies, and I'm eager to help in other ways in the future.
--by Megan Fullam
- Written on Thursday, November 01, 2012
Before traveling to Haiti, I was told, “Let go of all expectations.” Still, I had a few concerns before going. Was I going to be safe? How do I prepare for such a trip? What do I pack? How is the weather? Lucky enough, Alexa, co-Founder of Wings of Refuge, answered all of my questions and eased my mind. She even called me the night before my departure (when I was most anxious) to check in and wish me a safe flight. After that, I was ready.
It was amazing how, a few minutes after my arrival, I was able to so easily connect with my hosts. There was an immediate connection, and I knew that I was in great hands. I was then able to visit the children at Wings of Refuge for the first time. When I walked in, I noticed the children glance over at me and quietly observe. After introductions, the children went back to what they were doing and I was the one who got to observe. What I saw were healthy, playful children – ones you would see at any playground. It was easy to forget for a moment that they were living in an orphanage. While they seemed like regular children that I would tutor or babysit back home, I knew there was something special about them. Each of them had an untold story about their journey, and I couldn’t wait to spend time with each and one of them.
As I got to know each of the children, I fell in love with each unique personality. Jaunise, Jovanesse, Erinel, and Widmy each have a smile that can brighten any room. Angelina, Bedechina, and Naelka (the 3 musketeers) are smart and sassy young girls that are always full of energy. Wilson, Clifford, Keslourna, Ketina, and Migelite are super sweet, shy kids that are very loving. Adelin, Fadelin, Motha, and Renelson are energized and a lot of fun. Adeline, Sarah, Guirlene, Islande are nurturing and take on leadership roles in the house. Finally, baby Darvensley is so cute that nobody wants to put him down, including the other children.
Overall, what I learned during my time in Haiti was about the resilience of the human spirit. Each person I met had been affected by the 2010 earthquake that destroyed so many homes and lives, especially the children. However, each person I met greeted me with patience and kindness that I will never forget. One moment, in particular, really stuck with me. At one point, we visited another nearby orphanage. When we arrived, the children were sitting on chairs, and I did not have a seat. Two kids offered to move over so that we might all share the two seats. After I sat, one of the kids that was sitting in the middle even turned to me and asked me if I was comfortable. At that moment, I was so touched by the small gesture of kindness. What really impressed me was how concerned the teenager was about my comfort. That concern for others is widespread in Haiti and it is something I experienced with nearly everyone I met. That is why when people ask me if I will ever return Haiti, I smile and say, “Of course.”
This article was written by Hannah Silva wo traveled to Haiti for the first time in October with Wings of Refuge Co-founder, Alexa DeMiglio.