There is no doubt that there is a new reality in light of COVID-19, one that is increasingly virtual.  While this has meant that 2020 is not the year we expected, Light from Light has adapted in order to make the most of the moment and has sought ways to stay connected with friends and donors despite having to remain physically separate.  

The inaugural Women’s Retreat was held virtually at the end of April with much success.  Likewise, the upcoming Hope for Haiti {VIRTUAL} 5K seeks to be a positive source of engagement for constituents in the midst of a challenging reality.   

It was a priority, while brainstorming what to do in physical distance, to emotionally encourage Light from Light’s partners in the United States.  So often, the focus of support feels one-directional towards Haiti.  Certainly, the network of support in the United States has been an immeasurable encouragement to the Lespwa Timoun Clinic over the years by sending short-term medical teams to Haiti and donating time, talents and treasure.  However now, during this time of uncertainty for so many in the U.S., it was important for Light from Light to lean into what it means to be a good partner – by giving back to those who have taken care of Lespwa Timoun over the years.  

With this in mind, the virtual Women’s Retreat was born.  The group received teaching from Rev. Amy Winkle of Trinity Anglican Church in Atlanta and the experience was enhanced by contributions from Carmel Valdema, founder of the Lespwa Timoun clinic in Haiti.  Participants were led through a study of David and the Psalms.  More specifically, the topic was “engaging our emotions through prayer.”  Sign-up was free to all and participants were emailed a packet that included daily reflections for the week of April 27 – May 1.  Each day featured a different verse from Psalms, thought-provoking reflection questions, and a Zoom link for an hour of communal discussion that took place in the evenings.  

More than 70 women registered to participate and were encouraged by the retreat.  We were blown away by the response! 

Given the huge success of Light from Light’s inaugural Women’s Retreat online, we were encouraged that a virtual version of the annual Hope for Haiti 5K would be similarly successful.  After registering, individuals will be mailed a race packet, including a race number and T-shirt.  We are asking that participants plan to join the 5K from wherever they are on the morning of June 20 in an act of solidarity; however, “official” times for the walk/run will be accepted for any day between June 18-21, 2020.  Prizes will be mailed out shortly thereafter. 

“We hope to create unity in the face of adversity by moving together, but apart, on behalf of our mission,” said Hannah Jones, Light from Light’s Executive Director. 

Despite initial disappointment at a change in the tradition of this race being held at the beautiful Oakland Plantation in Mount Pleasant, this race being virtual allows us to expand our audience to a more global group of runners, walkers, and healthcare supporters.  We now have registrants from across the United States, Haiti and Europe. 

Although we hope to see the end of the need for virtual events, Light from Light will continue to seek ways to engage our friends and donors while: 

1) ensuring their health and safety AND   
2) continuing our goal of supporting healthcare in Haiti.