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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Harry Gray Recreation Center In Haiti: More Than A Dream


The Gray family has always exemplified leadership around the WIS community. Aside from their charismatic and personable character, Fabrice and Sebastian Gray, are dedicated to humanitarianism in their native country of Haiti. In 2011, their late father, Harry Gray, founded a non-profit organization, Protect the Children’s Future (PCF) dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged children in rural areas of Haiti. Since his passing in June, Fabrice and his family have been motivated to make their father’s dream a reality. 

“When my father passed that’s when we really realized, now is the right time to really push for it,” Fabrice Gray said

Harry Gray In Miragoine Haiti

Lifers at WIS, the Grays have always been proud members of the community with their contagious energy and school spirit around campus. These students continuously represented leadership around the community for their time on campus. In his senior year, Sebastian served as the WIS Varsity soccer captain and co-ISU president.

Likewise, Fabrice served as the spirit coordinator his sophomore year, and the WIS Varsity soccer captain his junior and senior year of high school. These brothers are no strangers to leadership and commitment. 

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The Gray family has had the recreation center in the works since 2011. They’ve always felt the need to give back to their native home country. The family knew they wanted to have a centralized location devoted to helping the Haitian youth receive the amenities they deserve. 

“Our mission is to serve underprivileged youth and their families in rural communities in Haiti,” Fabrice said.

This recreation center would foster pride and bring the Haitian community together. So far, the Gray family work has been grounded primarily on sponsoring kids in school and hosting a variety of summer camps for the youth. 

“We help fund the education of low income Haitian families, we send them toys for Christmas; most recently we’ve hosted arts and sports camps over the summer, and we’ve even started hygiene classes,” Fabrice said.“We believe these are the things every kid should have the luxury of receiving”

Just recently, in the summer of 2019, the Gray family along with others from the class of 2020 hosted a summer camp for PCF. Working with students ages 5-11, WIS students spent the day hanging out with the kids, singing songs, and enjoying some time outside. In the mornings, volunteers would take the bus from their compound to the school where they would be greeted by over 300 campers. Following the morning greetings, the volunteers would branch out to their respective activity for the day. Among the WIS students, rising seniors at the time, Dante Rohlck, participated in the 3 week trip. 

“I mainly did hygiene classes, and I collected an abundance of toothbrushes and other oral hygiene products beforehand to hand out to the campers,” Rohlck said.

A big part of PCF are the donations sent out to the campers. Campers receive all types of sports equipment including soccer cleats, balls, shin guards, etc. Soccer coaches around the regions would help instruct the kids and help them become better players. 

Fabrice & Some Of The Campers

During lunchtimes, WIS students and campers would take buses through the rural countryside, passing by tons of high school students to feed them lunch. 

“The experience was shocking as we had no true expectation of the reality of the poverty,” Rohlck said

WIS students were astonished at the realities of the lives of children in rural Miragoane, Haiti. Volunteers were moved by the plight of the children, and embraced the opportunity to impact underprivileged kids live happier, healthier lives. 

“The whole trip was indicative of how sad the world works; lots of these kids have serious untapped potential and talents that they possibly could not have had the chance to show and develop,” Rolck said.

Miragoane Haiti is a coastal commune in Western Haiti. Known for being regarded as one of the major ports in the international trade of used goods, bales of shoes, clothing, cars, to and from the port from Miami and other U.S cities, efforts are being made to restore the city. 

“We hope one day we can restore Haiti to the beautiful, cultural landmark it once was,” Fabrice said.

The Gray family is working to expand PCF into something bigger. Harry Gray had a larger vision; he dreamed of a true recreation center. He visioned classrooms, gyms, and fields to provide for the Children of Miragoane and its surrounding towns. His goal was to create a center where families could enjoy themselves; Fabrice and Sebastian are now determined to make their fathers dream a reality. The family has now begun a GoFundMe, and are in the midst of working out the financial logistics, legal implications, and fundraisers. 

“The future is unknown; we’re not sure about the next step after the passing of my father, however we hope we can use PCF as the central hub to expand and grow the Haitian movement,” said Fabrice

The generosity of those around the Gray family, the entire WIS community are what have propelled PCF from a mere idea, into close to a reality. However, fundamentally, the effort from Fabrice, Sebastian, and the WIS community are the true driving factors in taking PCF to the next level. The goal is mildly ambitious, but it would mean a lot to the movement.

“Anything is more than appreciated. I can tell you that I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it wasn’t for my dad’s ambitions. Peace. Love. Happiness,” Fabrice said.

By Diego Maldonado

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    Gathy GuerrierOct 19, 2020 at 3:46 am

    Great story! The Gray will go extra miles to live Harry’s Legacy. It can be done we enjoy working together to promote life.