"You are the instruments that saved not only 500 young Haitians, but also some of their relatives and the personnel of this Institution. Sometimes you may think that you have done little, but what you call little is huge... You allow people to sleep, to walk, to laugh because you send them their daily bread and the bread of knowledge. I thank you on their behalf and on my own."
Father Joseph Simon, Director Timkatec schools
The Friends of Timkatec
Father Simon with a picture of St Jean Bosco in the background. Both men have dedicated their lives to helping poor children.
"It is difficult to refuse a child who comes at night, in the rain, asking for a small place to sleep. In those instances, children sleep on the floor, sometimes with only a blanket, sometimes without even that." Father Joseph Simon of Timkatec
I learned of Timkatec through an Orlando Sentinel article in March 2004 stressing the Haiti problems and chaos following the departure of former President Aristide. The anguished comments made by Father Joseph Simon regarding the problems he was facing, and his mission to feed, clothe, house, educate and train the abandoned street children of Haiti, deeply touched me and our family and we had to learn more.
After some difficulties I contacted Father Simon and shortly afterwards received photographs, blueprints, and other documents describing his charges, his mission at Timkatec 1, plan for the trade training concept for Timkatec 2, his bona fides and, most importantly, his vision for the future for his "children". That vision is to take children (some as young as 8 years old) who have been abandoned to the streets of Port au Prince, and not only to feed and shelter them, but to educate them and train in a trade so that they could become self-sustaining proud citizens.
|Patrick O'Shea at Timkatec 1. The 300 Square foot dormitory is shared by 18—just bunk beds and shelves for clothes. But safe and dry, with food daily, an education and firm direction by Father Simon and the staff.|
It was clearly a worthy undertaking. One fraught with seemingly impossible problems... yet one that has been sustained by his faith and drive for 17 years. My daughter, Tara, designed (and maintains) this website and we started our efforts to expand Timkatec. My wife Judy, a former inner city Special education teacher, has been involved since the very first day
My first call for support was to an old friend and former travel industry colleague, Mike Spinelli. Mike immediately agreed to help in the foundation of what we jointly decided to call "The Friends of Timkatec in America". As cofounders of the "Friends" the O’Shea and Spinelli families have worked together for 8 years. We have made many trips to Haiti as Timkatec progressed and not a day goes by without us working for them. We are major donors who also donate our time, travel and expenses and all costs related to fund raising and to maintaining the website and we are happy to do so.
From that beginning in 2004 we have been most blessed with the unstinting support of Special Friends Ernie Reyes. John Martin, Tom Moran and their families and many other donors, CRS-USA and the CRS -Haiti staff, All Souls, Sanford, Florida and Jim Donovan of Donovan Management Inc. Philanthropy Consultant . That support has to date reached almost $400,000 in cash and in kind, donations and services, sent to Haiti through CRS and safely delivered to Timkatec. The following is a brief synopsis of the Friends efforts from March 2004 to January 2012:
- 2004-The Friends agree to fund building of Timkatec 2 with a matching gift from CRS. Tara O’Shea designs and inaugurates www.timkatec.org. Great support from All Souls. Funding completed by December
- 2005-The Friends agree to fund supplies and finish the construction and complete the interior. Tom Moran and All Souls become further involved. In March 2005 the foundation is laid
- 2006-Timkatec 2 construction is complete. The Friends agree to fund payroll for initial classes of 80 training in three trades for 2 years. John Martin and Ernie Reyes become Special Friends. Laidlaw Inc. and Royal Caribbean Cruises donate a school bus and transport it from Missouri to Haiti. We agree to host Timkatec-France on site
- 2007- We agree to increase our support to enable Timkatec 2 to increase it students to 160 training in five trades. Our first overseas donors in the UK, Canada and New Zealand assist Timkatec
- 2008 - We agree to increase support for training of 200 students. During this time there are massive hurricanes. Tom Donovan assists us in contacting Catholic foundations. Our first 15 students graduate
- 2009-The Lewis Foundation and Knights of Malta, S Florida make major donations. Haiti suffers massive floods with great loss of life and destruction of the rice growing area. Food prices skyrocket. 57 kids graduate
- 2010-The Friends made extraordinary efforts to support Timkatec through the post earthquake period. Tommy Stinson attends graduation, is greatly moved and commits to fund a 50% Timkatec 2 expansion. 65 Graduate
- 2011- The Tommy Stinson Charity Auction donates $40,000 which funds construction of a third story on Timkatec 2 to enable an increase to 240 students. In September the addition is inaugurated and he commits to donate the profits from his latest album. Our largest graduate class. of 71 students
Timkatec 2 is now a 7500 Square foot State certified Trade school, with dedicated instructors in 5 trades with 200 students and a capacity of 240. An expansion at Timkatec 1, the Primary School from 34 dormitory places to almost 50 plus 50 day students. Timkatec 3, funded separately by Canadian and European Timkatec supporters offers 185 girls both Primary and vocational training. Lastly, Timkatec 3 is also a shelter offering 40 kids overnight security with a capacity to increase to 80. The Timkatec Schools assist 540 kids every day with room to expand services to almost 60 as funds become available.
The Friends and CRS
From my first discussion with Jed Hoffman and Mark Melia at CRS -Headquarters and first meeting with Dula James CRS -Haiti in 2004, the relationship has been a very special one. By transferring our donations through CRS, the Friends have been able to concentrate our efforts on promoting Timkatec and raising funds for it with the certain knowledge that these funds would arrive in full and on time. In the last 8 years there have many floods, food and medical shortages, civil unrest, awful hurricanes and finally the catastrophic earthquake. We have been able to rely on our colleagues in Haiti at all times. Special thanks to Jed and Dula, and Dula’s successors in CRS-Haiti, Bill Canny now Head of worldwide Emergency Services, Scott Campbell and . All have worked under extraordinary stress throughout this time
It is rare to see so much impact on so many lives for such a relatively small investment In the following pages, you will find more information regarding Timkatec 1 2 and 3, and its founder Father Joseph Simon, a dedicated (supposedly retired) Salesian priest. I urge you to read more about him and his mission and I am sure that you, like our families will be as deeply touched by his dedication and faith and impressed by his focus on, and the success of, his leadership of a dedicated staff. You will find on the donation page how you also can assist that effort with a tax deductible donation for this worthy cause. 100% of our donations to be forwarded to Father Simon through our partner, Catholic Relief Service, who also cover our Timkatec effort through their website. Please feel free to either Patrick or Mike directly at any time for further information.
"It is fundamental to show children that one loves them and really wants to help them. The rest goes automatically. It is also a work of justice towards these children whose physical, intellectual and moral development is jeopardized by a life without affection, without guidance, without constraint, without obligation. The street cannot educate in any way." Father Joseph Simon of Timkatec.