New Friendships, Personal Growth, and Fun Projects


Zips for Haiti Group Travels to Ounaminthe

By Michael Robinson, The University of Akron

Zips for Haiti’s second trip to Institution Univers (IU) was a great success. Zips for Haiti paired with the Global Leadership Initiative at The University of Akron (UA) College of Business to make this trip a reality for 21 students. Of the 21 students, 19 attend The University of Akron, one attends Kent State University, and one is from the Akron community. Additionally, three students and one faculty member returned to lead this trip. All of the students were of diverse majors and ages ranging from political science to education to business and from freshmen to graduate students. The students and faculty member spent five awesome days on IU’s campus.

The tangible goals of this trip were to build mosquito net frames for the mission house at IU and to teach select lessons of Art and English. Art was taught in grades 1st through 4th and English taught to 4th through 13th. With the 13th grade, we also shared our college experiences and gave them a feel of what the university experience is like in the U.S. The net frames and lessons were accomplished and we even managed to set up one portable basketball hoop that had been left before us.

The non-tangible goal of this trip was to inspire personal change in our students, including increased self-confidence, determination, motivation, and leadership as well as many others. This goal was a success. During our reflection sessions, the students dug deep into themselves to learn, feel, and understand Haiti and in turn themselves. Along with inward reflection, the students quickly built strong peer relationships with students at IU. The students from IU and UA were mutually encouraged by each other and both learned so much. We all had a wonderful experience on the trip, filling our time with a tour of IU, a trip to Fort Liberté, a trip to La Citadelle, a visit to Danita’s Children and workdays at IU. Some of the students have already committed themselves to continue to work with Zips for Haiti to plan future trips and to raise funds for IU. For the trip leaders, it’s exciting to see the university organization grow and be fueled from other students. Others who didn’t join the organization still take an unforgettable memory with them that becomes a part of who they are. We asked them after the trip to be advocates for Haiti wherever they end up.

Overall, our trip to Haiti was simply fantastic. The students learned about and experienced Haiti all while enjoying themselves. We are thrilled to continue with another trip currently open for 20 students that will be coming up this May. Zips for Haiti wishes to continue these trips even further into the future, completing two student-led trips per school year for The University of Akron community. The students are learning so much about Haiti and even more about themselves. We will be forever thankful for opportunities like these to grow and learn.

Global Leadership Initiative- University of Akron

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