Students anxiously wait for the day to end, knowing that Spring Break is around the corner. Many students use this time to study for upcoming AP tests, visit their families that they have not seen for a long time, or relax, but a group of MAST students took a different route that would change theirs, and many children’s lives.
Senior Michael Adams and his family started going to Haiti 30 days before the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Since then, Adams has gone six times during Spring Break and Thanksgiving Break.
Adams’s mother, Ines Lozano, said she became inspired to start the non-profit organization, Flying High for Haiti, after the devastating earthquake in 2010.
When Adams first tried to take MAST students to Haiti, most of their responses were that they could not go because of the high risk they would be taking with the abundant crime and poverty there.
Only one person was willing to go the first time with Adams: senior Guy Fernandes.
“It was a very good experience, especially because Guy and I would interact with the kids and just basically play with the kids all day,” Adams said.
Adams and Fernandes formed a very close bond with the children and their bond continues to grow stronger every time they visit.
As word got out about their journey, more students were willing to take part in this incredible trip.
Recently, a group of students from Coral Gables High School, Gulliver Preparatory School, and eight MAST Interact students— seniors Michael Adams and Guy Fernandes, juniors Katerina Alvarez, Sofia Sellar, and Corina Diaz, and sophomores Danielle Zambrano, Denisse Koch, and Greg Fernandes—took a voyage to Île-à-Vache, an island off Haiti’s southwest peninsula to interact and do physical therapy with children from an orphanage.
In order to fundraise for the trip, Adams created a photography and art project which became a major success.
Adams and Fernandes have mentioned that even though there is a language barrier between them and the children, they are still able to communicate.
“I do not speak Creole or French at all and most of the children do not speak a word of English, but we can still communicate,” Adams said.
Adams and Fernandes do not use words to communicate; they simply use music and sports. Adams keeps in touch with the children that he sees whenever he returns to Haiti.
“Something I do really enjoy is the close relationship I’ve formed with the kids. I’ve been there six times and have interacted with these kids for the entire week and become best friends and they always message me or email me,” Adams said.
Through their interaction, Adams has given these children something to treasure for the rest of their lives.
A time comes when all seniors must graduate and so will Adams. He has plans to start a rotaract club at the University of Florida.
As Adams describes it, a rotaract club is the “second stage” of Interact club. Adams wants to give college students the experience to go on an incredible journey to help these children.
“I want the trips to keep on happening and to give the experience and opportunity to teenagers at MAST Academy,” Adams said.
He will do this with the help of Alvarez, who will take over the project.
For more information, students and staff can keep themselves updated through Flying High For Haiti’s Facebook page, Instagram account, Twitter account, and website www.flyinghighforhaiti.com.