Our Founders are Jeff and Michele Boston. They are best learned about in two parts. In the first, Michele, will tell you why they do what they do. The second will tell you some things about who they are. While it may seem in reverse, first things really do need to come first!
Everyone asks us, “Why Haiti?” What they really mean is why, of all the places in this world, did you choose to donate your time, money and effort to that forsaken place? I don’t remember when it happened. It was sometime in the six years before the construction of Klinik Timoun Nou Yo, a Pediatric Health and Medical Center in Port Salut, Haiti. What I do remember, is a tiny giant and his little cohorts who taught some strangers in a strange land a profound and forever lesson in generosity and gratitude.
Port Salut, a “sleepy” community hours away from Port au Prince, is especially beautiful for its captivating shore line and sandy beach. It is a community like all others in Haiti, where no one ever dies alone and villagers are warm and welcoming.
We were four riding in the back of an open pick-up truck. The sun was beating down as it always does in Haiti but for the rainy season which delivers torrential rains. It had been a long workday that began at 6 a.m. We were tired and hungry. We could have been crabby but wouldn’t entertain so selfish a mood in this country marked by such extreme poverty and suffering.
We continued to make our way on the main road when, for a reason I can’t recall, our vehicle stopped and sat parked for a time. It was soon after that we noticed a little person to the side of the road. He looked in appearance like so many of Haiti’s children. He was strikingly beautiful and small for his age. He was probably around four, really just a little guy. His clothes were old and showed signs of the very many who had worn them before him. His swollen belly and his hair too showed signs of kwashiorkor, a common form of malnutrition in Haiti.
There had been few Caucasians in the region in those days, making us a curiosity of sorts. But as the little person made his way to the back of the truck where we were seated, we knew he came to do more than stare up close.
Our truck sat high and his small frame stood low. He stretched his little neck upward as far as it could go in an effort to connect eye to eye, but he didn’t speak. He didn’t need to. His deep and penetrating eyes mirrored what his affected body had already made plain. He was hungry.
We searched for food knowing we probably had none as it was end of day. We dug deep into our pockets. We ransacked every backpack. Our efforts produced a single peanut butter cracker wrapped in cellophane. Our hearts sank.
One of us sheepishly bent down to give him the woeful cracker. We expected the little person to tear open the cellophane and eat it, ravenously, but he didn’t.
Instead, cracker in hand, he looked to the side of the road where we had first caught sight of him. At his “come hither” gesture, three little clones stepped out of the bushes and surrounded him. Patiently they waited as he painstakingly divided the cracker into as many tiny pieces as there were mouths. Only when the smallest and last child received his share, did all of the children eat. Then turning to us with smiles and waves of appreciation, they scurried off. Not even the rev of the truck’s engine starting again could cause us to move or speak. Any unanswered questions we may have had about Haiti were answered in that moment.
And that be the Story of Why!
PART 2: THE STORY OF WHO
If you read between the lines in Part 1, you realize you were reading a love story. Part 2 is a love story of another kind.
Jeff and Michele Boston met in 1984 when Michele, an attorney, cross examined Jeff, an expert witness. He caved and she won the case. To this day, Jeff claims that Michele still subjects him to cross examination from time to time.
Michele and Jeff are an unlikely couple. Michele was born to Jewish parents and raised in the Bronx, New York, with her older sister, Joan. Jeff was born to Episcopalian parents and was raised with his brothers, Scott, Chris and John in Roseville, Minnesota. Michele has a law degree and an MSW. Jeff has a PsyD. Michele claims that Jeff uses therapeutic techniques on her all the time.
Jeff and Michelle married in 1986. They raised two bright, interesting and beautiful children, their son Jacob and their daughter Sidney and they are both powder puffs when it comes to their granddaughter Kimberly Blake.
Their life together has been extraordinary. It has been filled with drama, passion, comedy, dark comedy, challenge, joy and happiness; somewhere between vaudeville and circus and never boring.
Michele eventually left the practice of law in 1993 and joined Jeff in building a corporation that served the disadvantaged and underrepresented. The strategies they formulated and applied in their company were so successful that they looked to duplicate them in another part of the world. After years of planning and development with the community of Port Salut, Haiti, Klinik Timoun Nou Yo, (KTNY)a pediatric health and medical center opened its doors there on November 19, 2012.
The miracle that has been created in Port Salut, Haiti, cannot be sustained by Jeff and Michele alone. Your help and support is absolutely vital. Please choose to partner with us today. We promise to be the best stewards of your contribution, using it always wisely and well.