A Bit About Us
Project Grace was founded in 2011 as a weeklong ballet camp for boys and girls at Maison des Enfants de Dieu, an orphanage in the capital of Port au Prince, Haiti. The idea for Project Grace came after its founder, Heather Hood, traveled to Haiti with Soles 4 Souls, Inc. just months after the devastating earthquake in 2010. The program was an immediate success with the kids and community members and has expanded more and more each year.
In 2013, Project Grace added yoga to the program and started traveling to multiple locations in Haiti. In 2015, tap classes were added to the agenda. In early 2016, two members of Project Grace met up with Project House of Hope in Montrouis, Haiti for an impromptu January mini-trip. Since then, Project Grace has returned to Montrouis every year to teach, ballet, yoga, and tap to House of Hope and 12:21 orphanages. Under the umbrella of Project House of Hope, the Project Grace founder has also been able to form a women’s sewing organization, Sewing Project for the Development of Lanzac (SPDL), in the community, which promotes women’s empowerment and independence by teaching women how to sew in order to sell their products for profit in the local markets and here in the United States.
Trained yoga and dance instructors hold classes every day for the various groups of children and at the end of the week, there is a performance where each group gets to showcase what they've learned during the program. They get to perform in costumes donated by Traveling Tutus Inc. and they get to keep their beautiful outfits to wear later for formal events and just for fun.
Many people ask- why dance and yoga? Why not something more sustainable? Why Haiti? And we answer- because we recognize at the end of the day after all the real-life problems have been lived through, after all the turmoil and hardship of life in Haiti can bring, we are here to remind children they can be kids and they can have fun. We may not be able to save the world but we CAN bring them smiles and love. We would love to see these wonderful, talented kids become famous yogis, tap stars and prima ballerinas and to have an international platform to raise up hope and support for the beautiful country of Haiti. But at the end of the day, we strive to bring love, happiness, and giggles to people who may not always have that. We travel to the same places every year for a reason. We are building lifelong, sustainable, reliable friendships and bonds with these children and their surrounding communities. We are here to remind them they will never be forgotten and they have an incredibly bright future ahead of them, no matter what curve balls life can throw.
Each year a team of 4 to 6 yoga and dance instructors travel to Haiti, bringing ballet shoes, leotards, tights, yoga mats and other supplies for the kids. It is a wonderful, hot, happy and proud group of teachers and students. The experience is unforgettable but not without cost. The cost for each team member is $2,000, which includes airfare, food, lodging, transportation, security, and supplies.
Please consider sponsoring a teacher, participating in a Project Grace fundraiser, making a donation, or buying one of our beautiful, handmade, gemstone bracelets! All proceeds go directly to travel costs, supplies and bringing love and smiles to our student's faces.