Bullying–Turned into a Blessing for a Group of Haitian Earthquake Student Survivors in South Florida
(Miami, FL) â€“ A group of more than 40 Haitian student earthquake survivors kicked off their memorial weekend with a special end of the year visit from internationally known Miami-based DJ Sam Sneak before returning back to Haiti this month. The influx of students attending International School of Broward, also known as ISB, came to South Florida back in January a week after the earthquake. â€œMost of these students lost everything, their homes, their parents, clothing, you name it,â€ said Nova grad student Nakya Reeves.
Reeves is amongst a team of seven Nova graduate psychology students who volunteer their time twice a week to offer group therapy and one-on-one therapy to the students to help them transition and overcome some of the devastation from the earthquake before returning home. For three or four months, the students sat in class without therapy until Reeves’ supervisor, Dr. Anne Rambo from Novaâ€”called in her Masters and Doctoral students to come run the group. â€œI decided to contact Sneak after talking to the students and discovered the kids were being bullied, stereotyped, and weren’t accepted around the school because they were Haitian,â€ said Reeves.
The students being bullied are between the ages of 12-18, and were sent to South Florida because they already had family here in Miami, and some are just living with people the family may have known. ISB was chosen in Broward for the students due to its French and English curriculum which allowed the students to easily adapt to the new classroom because it was similar to the private schools they attended in Haiti. Most of the Haitian students were from middle class neighborhoods in Haiti and lived very normal lives with drivers, servants, and family workers. â€œThey had none of that here,â€ said Reeves.
Sneak spent his birthday speaking to three groups of students about his career as a DJ and entertainer, and how he received the opportunity to work with famed rapper Rick Ross, who is also of Haitian descent. Sneak reflected on his Haitian childhood and how he has always been proud of his Haitian ancestry despite not being accepted because of it. â€œYou may not realize it now, but you are a part of history. Ten years from now people are going to want to hear your story. I came today because I want to take pictures with you, and shake your handsâ€”your story is my historyâ€ said Sneak to an attentive group of smiling faces. â€œI met someone big in life and I would like to be as big as him,â€ said 16-year-old Laurent Cadet. â€œHe’s Haitian, and I’m Haitian. I feel pretty awesome, I am grateful to be alive,â€ said 16-year-old Stefan Berchold. Sneak also spoke about his Hope for Haiti Project and gave away prizes to the winners of his dance competition. â€œThose kids making fun of them were the same ones trying to get in to the classrooms today to meet Sam Sneak. I think it made them feel special at the time,â€ said Reeves. â€œToday really put a stamp on what we have been doing with the kids.â€
For more information about Hope for Haiti, or to contact Sam Sneak, please contact M.A.R.S. Marketing at 305-467-7506 , or firstname.lastname@example.org.