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Our Blog

Welcome to our blog. Here you will find updates on our current projects and events, letters from our board, staff and volunteers, as well as updates on the children. Thanks for visiting and please check back soon.

Posted under School is out for Summer


School is out for Summer, as part of our summer program with the kids we are having music, drama, and dance classes. The kids are really enjoying themselves!

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Posted under Citi Soleil


This is a picture I took in Citi Soleil. These are “cookies” made from dirt and vegetable oil that the poor eat to ease their hunger pains.

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Posted under Students Help Out


Students from Thacher school in Ojai and Saint Ann’s Bellfield in Virginia accompanied us to Haiti in March. We first traveled to the town of Vignier, and built trusses for a home that Changing Tides has been constructing for a needy family. We then traveled to the orphanage and spent the rest of the week with the children. It was also my 12 year old son Wyatt’s first trip to Haiti, It was nice to have this group of students back again as they came last March and Built a playground for the children.

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Posted under New Changing Tides Instagram


Heading out for Haiti tonight with a group of kids from Thacher school and Saint Anne Belfield in Virginia. I will be posting pictures daily on our new Instagram account:Changingtidesorphanage. Please follow!

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Posted under Home Construction


Changing Tides Orphanage is in the process of constructing a home for a needy family in Vignier, Haiti. This community service project will provide a home for ten people at a total cost of 4,000 dollars. The family is one of the most impoverished that we have encountered, and the mother is physically unable to care for her children. Last year, Changing Tides took in two of her girls.
I will be traveling to Haiti March 3rd with a group of high school students and their parents to help complete this project. However, so far we have raised 2,000 dollars and the house is half complete. We need to raise an additional 2,000 dollars to complete this project. What a great gift this is for this family. I will post pictures of the home they are living in now and our project under construction. If you would like to financially help us with the completion of the house and bless this family, please go to the donation page of our website and in the comment section note that it is for the “community project” or contact Vance at 2076817. Thank you!

 

 

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Posted under Happy New Year!


Happy New Year everyone! For Christmas I traveled to Haiti with Lissie, the entertainer who did the benefit concert for us last summer. She brought along with her Eric, the lead guitarist for her band, director/film maker John Vanover, and an audio technician Ross D’Alessandro. The month prior to our visit the kids at Changing Tides Orphanage spent time learning some of Lissie’s songs and Lissie learned a Haitian song. They performed a concert for the neighborhood on the last day of our trip. We documented the entire week on film. On our way back to Port-Au-Prince, I took them to Citi Soleil, which is one of the poorest slums in the world. I have been there several times, but have never taken anyone with me. It can be very dangerous and even more heartbreaking. The children of Citi Soleil eat mud cookies (pangs) made of yellow dirt and vegetable oil. The poorest Haitians rely on these to diminish hunger pains. This was an amazing trip, and we would like to thank Lissie, Eric, and the film crew, John and Ross, for donating their time and taking an interest in our organization. We would also like to thank one of Lissie’s sponsors, Fender Guitars, who donated three guitars. The children are having a great time with them. I will be posting videos and pictures of the trip. Thanks for your continued support.

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Posted under Citi Soleil – Christmas 2012


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Posted under Lissie Trip – Christmas 2012


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Posted under March Trip to Haiti


Donna and I went back to Haiti the first week of March. We were accompanied by a group of students  and parents from Thacher School in Ojai, and Chris and Mattie Mazzola (Donna’s daughter and grand-daughter) from St. Ann’s Betelfield School in Virginia. Mattie designed t-shirts which were sold at both schools. The money they raised from t-shirt sales went towards our playground project. While in Haiti the students worked hard on the playground; we poured the cement slab and installed the fencing. They also packaged some food which they handed out in Kay Jacmel, a very poor area about 10 miles from the orphanage. I want to thank everyone for all there hard work. The children are now using the play area and enjoying it very much. I am also posting two video’s from the trip one shot by Suzanne Combs and Elle Gannon.

Vance

 

 

 

 

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Posted under Kathy, Wes, and Wendy’s Trip


My wife Cheryl and I returned from Haiti February 7th . We took with us Wendy Franklin, and Wes and Kathy Thies. It was a productive trip with Wes and I making progress on the playground, and the women worked with the children making valentines cards, to return to Tracy Oaklands 1st grade students at Topa Topa school, who had made beautiful valentine cards for them,which they LOVED! They also wrote return letters to their new pen pals, Esther Gullatt’s kindergarten class at Meiners Oaks Elementary. I will be returning to Haiti on March 3rd, with some students and their parents, from Thacher school in Ojai, and St.Anne’s Belfield school in Charlottesville, Virginia. They have designed T-Shirts & are selling them to raise money for the playground.
Vance

 

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Posted under Cade’s Trip January 2012


I returned from Haiti on January 7th. I was accompaniedby Dona Kirkmire and Cade Carper. Donna continued working with with the kindergarden class the children really enjoy the projects she puts together for them. Unfortunatly our kindergarden teacher Sonia has been ill and has traveled to Cuba for medical treatment her brother is filling in and doing great job. We are praying for her recovery and return. Cade and I started work on the playground; we built some retaining walls to level the property for the basketball court. I want to really thank Cade we really worked hard and accomplished a lot of work. I will load some pictures from the trip.
-Vance

 

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Posted under 2012 Vision


We are now planning a playground for the orphanage and the next couple of trips will include the development and construction of this project. We are also planning some service trips, where we will possibly build homes for some single mothers and some elderly and disabled neighbors who are currently living in tents and shacks. We hope to include our friends and local Haitian youth on these work projects.

When the time is right I would like to purchase a piece of land and build a new school, separated from the orphanage. This would free up space at the orphanage for us to take in more children. Our goal is to add at least one classroom each year.

In the new year we are also going to start making contacts in order to find educational sponsorships in the United States for our children. Our goal is to find sponsor families and schools by the time the children reach junior high age so they can study here and return to Haiti with an education and the ability to make a difference in their own country. We also hope to share Haiti with many more people and to be the conduit that provides access to those wishing to give back.

Vance Simms

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Posted under 2011 Reflections


In looking back at our first year, I never could have imagined we would be where we are today. We have accomplished so much in just one year. We’ve turned something that was just an idea into a community based organization that is now serving others in great need. Traveling all through Haiti to find and furnish a facility in a suitable location, hiring amazing staff and welcoming these wonderful children into our family….I thank God for the inspiration and guidance needed to get this accomplished.

We now provide a home for fifteen orphaned and underprivileged children. We have also started a school for our children and for children in the local community who would not have otherwise had the opportunity to attend school. The Haitian government only accepts ten percent of the children at public schools. Thirty four percent never attend school and forty percent drop out by the third grade.

A feeding program has been implemented for our children, the children attending the school, and some elderly and handicapped neighbors. Most children in Haiti eat only one starchy meal a day, consisting of plantains, white rice and white bread, because this is all the people can afford.  Before they go home from school we feed our kids nutritious, balanced meals that include fruits, vegetables and proteins. We are also providing jobs for the community where the unemployment rate is seventy percent and the people that do have jobs make an average of two dollars per day.

The children, some brought to us at death’s door, are now thriving. With a staff that encourages them, teachers that care about their education, nutritious food and a loving environment, they will have a chance at a future. I thank God, our Board, all our sponsors, my family and the community for getting involved and making it all possible.

Thanks for your support,
Vance Simms

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Posted under December Trip to Haiti


I returned from Haiti on December 6th along with Taffy and Julia Lowen and Nick Colbern. We had a great trip. While we were there we welcomed two new children into the Orphanage, Johnny 2 1/2 and Mona 7. Nick played soccer with all the neighborhood kids, while Julia and Taffy worked with the kids in the classroom making our orphanage Christmas card, making bracelets, and other fun crafts! I will be returning to Haiti on January 8th with Donna Kirkmire and Cade Carper. Donna will be working with the teachers in the classrooms, and Cade and I will begin preliminary work on a playground for the kids that is located on a piece of land we were able to lease next to the orphanage. Check out the picture from the December trip on our page! Thanks again for all your support!

Vance

 

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Posted under Make a Donation for Christmas!


For anyone wishing to make a donation in the name or memory of someone, we will mail a Christmas card from Changing Tides to the recipient. Please include the word “Christmas” and provide a name and mailing address in the “For” box on the Donation page. Thanks!

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Posted under Thanks to Donna Kirkmire and Dell Mercer


We just returned from Haiti and I was blessed by the company of Donna Kirkmire and Dell Mercer. Donna was a huge help in the kindergarten classroom. She brought school supplies and interacted with the children using playdough and finger paint. Using art supplies in the classroom is not something that Haitian children do not get the chance to do. Donna worked with the teacher showing her creative teaching techniques. The children really enjoyed the time with her.

While we were there, we temporarily took in two children. The mother did not have the means to provide for them, and her son, Johnny, was so malnourished he could not lift his head off of the couch. After spending a week at Changing Tides he was able to stand and walk a little. The orphanage is taking him to seek medical attention this week and we are providing food for his family. It is always so inspiring to see the growth and progress that the children are making each and every day! Thanks to all, here are a few new pictures from our trip.
Blessings,
Vance Simms

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Posted under Cheryl and I Returned from Haiti


Cheryl and I just returned from Haiti along with Board members Lori Lesuer and Lynn Gardner. It was our first chance to see the school in operation since opening two weeks ago. It’s amazing to see how much they enjoy learning. Pastor Diligent had the first grade class well organized and the kids fully engaged. While the pre-k class was a little less organized with three, four and five year olds and a few monsters that reminded me of myself at that age, but they were progressing well. We are lucky to have Donna Kirkmire join our organization she comes with 30 years teaching experience and will travel to Haiti with me next month to help with the school and implement some new teaching programs. So many of the schools in Haiti do not adequately educate their students the schools are just a source of income. It is very important to us that the kids get a good education and a chance at a brighter future. The kids were all doing well and it’s always nice to spend time with them and see how far they have come since coming to our facility. Every time I return to Haiti I am amazed at the hardships the Haitian people live through everyday it makes me reevaluate the things I think are important. Lynn loaded some new pictures and I will try to load a video of the class I say try because Halo has left for collage and I’m on my own.

Thanks To all Vance

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Posted under Halo and I Returned from Haiti


Halo and I returned from Haiti on monday we had a great trip. We were supposed to go last week, but put it off because of the hurricane. We welcomed five new kids into the orphanage, registered 12 new kids for school. It was really nice to spend the last week with Halo before she leaves for college, and welcome all of our new children. Its amazing to watch these kids come alive after being used to only one meal a day. They now get three full meals, new clothes, and the first bed they have ever slept in. Along with that they have house that does not leak when it rains.We are getting ready to open our school Changing Tides Academy in a few weeks and making lots of progress for our opening. Hope you enjoy the picture and hope to see you all in haiti soon!

Vance Simms

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Posted under Thanks Rodney Simms


We would like to thank Rodney Simms for Traveling to Haiti and capturing a busy week at the orphanage through the lens of his camera, and providing the pictures that will be used for our upcoming website. The kids kept him really busy; they are definitely not camera shy!

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Posted under Thanks John and David Hartman


We would like to thank John and David Hartman for coming to Haiti June 20th and helping work on the orphanage and traveling to Vignier and doing the electrical work on Pastor Benite Jeune’s school being rebuilt after being destroyed in the earth quake.

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