John Branchizio School
John Eric Branchizio served as a board member for Mercy & Sharing. A former Navy SEAL, John also provided security in the Gaza Strip for the US Embassy. A Texas native, John lived in Aspen, CO in 2001 before moving to the Middle East. On October 13th, 2003, John was killed when a bomb exploded beneath his vehicle when he was escorting US Embassy officials. Mercy & Sharing wanted to honor John’s life and service to his country, and to the children of Haiti, and so named the school after him. Susie Krabacher stated at a memorial service, “John was fearless and would have given his life for any of the children at the orphanages…John was larger than life.”
Located in the Cazeau region of Port-au-Prince near the airport, the John Branchizio School was recently recognized as one of the top five schools in its region. 513 students are enrolled in primary and secondary education that includes a hot meal everyday. Science, math, geography, history, languages and life skills form a rigorous curriculum that challenges the students from 8:00 am to 3:30 each day. 98% of the children at John Branchizio passed the State Exam (compared to the national average of 40%).
The Vibrant Village Foundation and Mercy & Sharing have just renewed our partnership for another year as part of an ongoing collaboration to support two Mercy & Sharing programs in Haiti. In Port-au-Prince, the Vibrant Village Foundation supports Mercy & Sharing’s John Branchizio School, which educates over 617 students in grades 1 through 8. This fall, with support from Vibrant Village, the school will add a ninth grade with 31 children in the inaugural class. The John Branchizio School is consistently chosen as one of the best schools in Haiti, with 98% of children passing the State Exam last year.
In the North, the Vibrant Village Foundation and Mercy and Sharing work to reach the most vulnerable children and elderly in the poor villages of Paulette and Phaeton. The program provides a daily, hot, nutritious meal to children and seniors, while also offering free medical check-ups. The program serves 30,000 meals per month to over 1,000 of the children and elderly most in need. Last month, doctors saw nearly 400 patients for free consultation.
John Branchizio School Summer Program
During the summer, Mercy & Sharing’s John Branchizio School continues to provide meals to students. Beginning July 12, students will have the opportunity to take art, football, dance and computer classes. The classes will be conducted from 8 am to 12 am Monday to Friday. Mercy & Sharing’s John Branchizio School has an enrollment of 555 students and serves over 11,500 hot nutritious meals each month. Mercy & Sharing thanks the Vibrant Village Foundation for its ongoing sponsorship of the John Branchizio School.
From a Grateful Student: Jean Berry Jeannot
My name is Jean Berry. I am an eleven-year-old boy in the 4th grade at Mercy & Sharing’s John Branchizio School. I love school! This is where I spend most of my time. I feel that my school is almost more important than my home. I meet a lot of friends and I feel secure here. The gate is always closed when we students are in class learning and that makes me feel safe. In my house there is no gate and sometimes I cannot sleep at night knowing that someone might come in the yard and open the front door.
In school I have time to play and learn. At my house I usually spend most of the time helping my mom or dad doing things in the house. It is not that I don’t like helping, but I think learning to read and write will be more profitable to me in life. I love math and French and I know that math well will help me manage my money when I grow up. Speaking French will help me work in a big company!
Coming to school makes me feel good. I know that I will have a warm plate every day. If I don’t eat I cannot learn. After lunchtime I feel more at ease to learn and what I hear from the teachers stays in my head if my stomach is full!
I know that Mercy & Sharing is doing a lot to make sure each kid at John Branchizio School eats everyday. I thank you for your great support.