HISTORICAL REVIEW OF ACHIEVEMENTS "In Unity, There is Strength"
Early in 1997, a small group of Brockton residents forged a community coalition to help fellow Haitians in new and unfamiliar surroundings. In 1998, our small group had expanded into a devoted network of people helping people: We became South Shore Haitians United for Progress – two dozen bicultural Haitian-American volunteers providing referral services in the areas of employment, housing, health awareness and advocacy services to Haitian newcomers living and working south of Boston. During the past two years our coalition has further evolved. In 2000, we formally organized our group as a non-profit corporation. The following year SHUP became a 501 (c) (3) agency.
A grassroots approach to providing direct referral remains SHUP’s greatest strength and defines our community resource niche. Our fledging organization is part social service agency, and part welcoming committee. We are a critical link between the community at-large and the fastest growing linguistic minority. SHUP has worked hard to earn the trust and respect of our clients by meeting their needs. In turn, our agency’s unique ability to connect with the Haitian community has created sustained collaborative relationships.
In January 1998, SHUP supported the passage of Federal Title 18, Part I (Chapter 13, Section 245.1) with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). Section 245.1 allows individuals in the U.S. who are currently out of status but eligible to apply for green cards to adjust their status without leaving the country. Without Section 245.1, consular processing abroad is the only option for certain aliens who are ineligible for adjustment of status in the U.S.
The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) is the only organization in Massachusetts that brings together group serving immigrants and refugees from many parts of the world of various nationalities, races and ethnicities.
In October 1998, the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA) was signed into law on October 21, 1998. The purpose of this act was for certain nationals of Haiti who have been residing in the United States to become lawful permanent residents of this country. Again the collaboration with MIRA provided as forum for SHUP’s clients to participate effectively.
SHUP assisted applicable Haitians to apply for lawful permanent resident status without having to first apply for an immigrant visa at a United States consulate abroad.
In 1998 throughout the year, teaming with Brockton Neighbors United (BNU), SHUP was assisted by Massachusetts Prevention Center of Brockton in conducting Community Needs Assessment of Haitians newcomers. The Massachusetts Prevention Centers offer tools for people to become involved in efforts to promote health and to prevent alcohol and other drug abuse problems, tobacco use, injuries, violence, HIV infection, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy and chronic diseases in their communities.
In December 1999, SHUP recognized what a vital resource Brockton Family and Community Resources in Domestic Violence was to their client community as on-going collaboration was formed. Brockton Family and Community Resources in Domestic Violence provide free and confidential assistance to persons in abusive relationships and their children.
In 1999 throughout the year, as a commitment to reducing gun violence, Brockton Police implemented the “Gun Buy Back” Program. This program allows individuals to turn in a gun with no questions asked receive amnesty from any gun possession charges that might apply and as added incentive receive payment for each gun. SHUP was instrumental in ensuring the participation of the Haitian community of Brockton.
Also, in conjunction with the Brockton Police, SHUP took part in a radio show on Radio Soleil with Domestic Violence as the topic. Radio Soleil operates in Brockton and the teen hours; game shows, religious programming and cultural critique round out the dynamic mix.
SHUP conducted every year for the past 15 years the Haitian Flag Day at City Hall of Brockton. It is a day of celebration in commemoration of the Haitian Flag. The celebration focused on diversity and patriotism. The event is always well attended by Brockton’s Elementary students; city officials, politicians and families.
In October 2000, SHUP collectively wrote a letter to President Clinton in support of the passage of the Latino and Immigrant Fairness Act. The Latino and Immigrant Fairness Act (“LIFA”) that would help certain immigrants gain residency. This legislation is being characterized incorrectly as a “blanket amnesty.” A “blanket amnesty” would provide immigrant visas to an estimated six million undocumented or temporary immigrants in the U.S.
President Clinton responded that his administration will continue to address the fundamental concerns of the American people and will work to move the nation forward.
In 1998 to 2000 covering three years, continuing their partnerships, Brockton Neighbors United and SHUP prepared classes for clients at all stages of life to develop their English skills. Citizenship classes were included in the curriculum, towards becoming US citizens and expand their ability to achieve higher paying jobs.
In 2000 throughout the year, SHUP joined the “Patients First Coalition” comprised of AFSCME Health Professionals and Allied Employees, American Federation of Teachers and District 1115 Services Employees International Union. They and others were successful in their protests of the closing of the Caritas Good Samaritan Hospital. The hospital still remains open.
During the “Census 2000,” SHUP took a lead role in promoting participation in the census to the Haitian community by gathering local businesses to offer their locations as census host sites. Local churches with predominately Haitian parishioners were educated about the census. Members of SHUP volunteered to translate the census information into Haitian Creole for those with limited English. SHUP promoted the hiring of Haitians by the Census Bureau.
In June 2001, SHUP brought about the hiring of additional guidance counselor for the East Junior High School, the JF Kennedy Elementary School and other schools where Haitian students are enrolled in Brockton. Additional supplementary bilingual resources are: Two classrooms at the Kennedy school an office for guidance counselor and possibly a kindergarten class.
In July 2001, in Washington, D.C. SHUP met with Senator Bob Graham, Senator Hilary Clinton, Senator Kerry and other Representatives to call for the funding for new Immigrant Initiatives:
Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act of 2001 – Amends Titles XIX (Medicaid) and XXI (Children’s Health Insurance) (SCHIP) of the Social Security Act to grant states the option of covering certain categories of eligible women and child resident aliens under the Medicaid and SCHIP programs. The key provisions of the Bill are:
1. Restore food stamp eligibility to all legal immigrants; 2. Raise the minimum food stamp benefit to $25; and 3. Improve Food Stamp Program access.
Women Immigration Safe Harbor Act 2258 (WISH) – WISH would eliminate these restrictions for the following categories of battered legal immigrants:
1. Lawful permanent residents (LPR); refugees, asylees and certain other legal immigrants; 2. “Self-petitioners” under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) (a small number of immigrants are granted lawful permanent resident status to prevent abusive spouses and parents from using the immigrants laws to prevent their victims from escaping their situation); 3. Holders of “U-Visas,” who are domestic violence or sex crime victims certified to be participating in criminal investigations of these crimes.
In August 2001, the Haitian Flag was permanently placed in City Hall Plaza through the efforts of SHUP combined with the Diversity Commission and the Mayor’s Office.
In 1998 to 2001 covering four years, SHUP’s participation in the “Better Beginnings” Program at Brockton Hospital, assisted Haitian mothers to secure health insurance so that they would follow through on all aspects of prenatal care. Certified childbirth instructors help first time parents prepare for childbirth. This workshop covers such topics as the process of labor, both natural and cesarean, hospital admissions procedures, pain relief options and the role of the support person.
Brockton Hospital is Brockton’s primer health care provider. Brockton Hospital is a private, not-for-profit community teaching hospital that serves nearly 400,000 residents in 20 communities in southeastern Massachusetts.
In December 2001, 501 (c) (3) agency designation was achieved by SHUP, 501 (c) (3) organization are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with §170 of the IRS Code.
In 2001 throughout the year, SHUP endeavored with the Metro Boston Haitian R.E.A.C.H. 2010, Community Planning Group and H.I.V. Prevention Initiative to increase South Shore participation in the “REACH 2010” and awareness of the Commonwealth’s health programs.
In January 2002, SHUP was awarded $18,000 grant to administer the “Krik Krak” Program by 21st Century Community Learning Centers Initiative in Brockton, the Program is teaching Haitian culture through storytelling and academic to sixth to fifth graders at the Plouffe Elementary School. I Coordinator, 2 Haitians teachers, and 2 teacher’s aides were hired. The Teachers’ Aides were 2 high school scholars from Brockton High. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program has been reauthorized as Title IV, Part B of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 which was signed into law on January 8, 2002 by President Bush.
The focus of this program, re-authorized under Title IV, Part B of the No Child Left Behind Act is to provide expanded academic enrichment opportunities for children attending low performing schools.
Programs and Services- SHUP advocates and provides referral services in for core areas: 1. Employment
Referrals to appropriate Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Career Works Employment Center
Use of SHUP job board and local resources; and
Outreach to local corporations and others in the business community.
Referrals to rental businesses, agencies, Brockton Housing Authority when appropriate; and
Use of SHUP housing network and local resources.
3. Adult Education
Referrals to ABE’s, MA Citizenship Assistance Program (CAP) when appropriate; and
Enrollment in SHUP’s ESOL or native language Haitian Kreyol speaker’s classes.
4. Public Health
Referrals to Healthcare providers;
Dissemination of Health insurance programs information in Kreyol; and
Interpretation and translation services for accompanying patients to doctors’ visits.
REACH 2010 is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) response President Clinton’s Race Initiative and Goal for 2010 in eliminate disparities in health status experienced by racial and ethnic minority populations.
Election for a new Committee-
·2010-2012: After the Earthquake, SHUP collaborated with the local churches and other NGOs and formed the Mass Emergency Relief for Haiti (MERH) committee which became and open arm for all the brothers and sisters in needs of assistance post-earthquake. MERH in collaboration with SHUP was able to provide Workforce ESL and Computer Literacy for everyone in need of this service.
April: SHUP suffered major setbacks, which limited us from providing the usual services. We took advantage of that time to do some internal restructure, which resulted in a successful fund-raising gala on April 28th and the election of a new Executive Committee on May 14th. The new committee’s mission is to manage the daily operation of the organization and strive to elect a strong Board of Directors for 2013 to 2015.
Following its mission statement SHUP has always worked to assist Haitian immigrants to access existing social services and create social and educational that empower them to be self-sustaining. The goal as defined is a way to give these recipients a way to the knowledge and the skills that will allow them to navigate the system and make choices and decisions that will better their lives. We are currently running three successful programs which aim at empowering Haitian-American communities while facilitating integration and community engagement.
The community support driver provides short-term and long- term interventions for adults and children with substance abuse, mental illnesses, and other psychosocial issues like homelessness. It is a case management program based in the belief that people have different ways of responding to crisis and the better the support system is, much better will the response be. This program has been and will remain successful due to the fact that, it allows the organization to work closely with families and identify behaviors that can lead to family tensions. Early detection is critical in a sense that it facilitates intervention which is critical to the wellbeing of the family setting.
Food pantry SHUP’s mission and its food pantry program are in line with the main objective to reach disenfranchised population through integrated services and community engagement like providing healthy meals to the deprived. As a Haitian-led nonprofit organization that provides an array of services to the Haitian community in Brockton, SHUP collaboratively work with other community-based partners to strengthen and empower community members and their families, and create a sustainable service model that fosters their needs. SHUP will work with professionals both within and outside the Brockton area in order to successfully meet those challenges and create a model program that will respond to the needs of low-income clientele. The Convenient Pantry distributes food every other Thursdays 11am to 12pm. (Stopped in November 2014 due lack of funding)
Community Strengthening Program this Program is to emphasis on strengthening the youth and their parent’s sense of identity, mutual respect and self-worth, the project staff works with the families to raise awareness on their culture, values, and establish pride. The goal of the program is to decrease instances of risky behavior, while improving family relations, sense of self-worth, civic and community involvement among the youth and their families.
The visual growing disconnect and lack of communication between the two generations on issues such as sex, drug, violence, health issues, due to differing cultural norms will be reduced as the line of communication widens. The CSP is based on the principle of fostering volunteer opportunities to serve through three main components: 1) Youth/ Social Development, 2) Mentoring, 3) Community Involvement. (Working on grant to start hopefully in September again)