This past Fall has been an amazing moment to highlight all of the hard work put in by former students and current students. Even though the growth and system we have built feels natural and right, it seems to be an innovative system people are excited to learn about.
90% of our classes are built by our Haitian staff and Core Membership. They define the classes needed and go find local talent to teach the classes. As the Director, I only develop classes when they are requested or after we have had numerous discussions about how a new class will benefit the community. There has been amazing innovation in the classroom fueled by this ground up participation, that has led to international partnerships and some new potential funding.
It really shows that when given the opportunity and resources, the Haitian community will create the innovation Jacmel needs. It will shows that when these innovative classes are there, the students will come. There is truly no one better to define the needs of the community except the community itself!
Another magical moment that happens is when the current students see the former students creating impact and change in their own community. The students follow by example and create workshops for other youth in Jacmel. Sometimes when we dont have the resources, like a glossary of coding terms, the students go and find those resources. It is a valuable experience for them. Each time they try and gain more valuable experience, the more prepared they will be for their future careers and civic activities in their communities!
The staff are so impressed with this new structure that we are building a more formal structure that elevates students into administrative and leadership positions. This way we will always find our relevance in the community, straight from the community.