Category Archives: Class of 2015: Haiti

A conversation with one of my heroes UPDATED 8-12-15

UPDATED 8-12-15

See below for thoughts from Colby about her life.


A conversation with one of my heroes

Earlier this morning [Friday] I received a phone call from Periclean alum Colby Halligan (’15).  I had texted her as soon as I found out about her recent misfortune.  She is safe, but last weekend her home in California and everything in it was destroyed in a spontaneous fire. Thankfully she was out of the house at the time. She is just now headed home to Vermont for the holidays earlier than expected, and I am sure it will be a comfort for her to reunite with her family.

Colby is resilient and will surely march on with grit, determination, and a smile on her face, as always. Though she is just starting out and can rebuild her home, I am afraid the biggest losses were letters from and memories of her mother, which are not so easily replaced. A sorry way to kick off the holiday season, to be sure.

GetImageDuring our conversation I was reminded of the quotation we often reference from Pericles “What you leave behind is not what is engraved into stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”  Her comment was that although she lost everything -all material items from her life- she lost nothing, because all that was important were the people in her life.  Woven into my life to be sure, Cobly indeed remains on of my heroes, and I know that she will bounce back yet again

Her younger sister, Rory, has started a fund to help her bounce back from this: Knowing Colby, I am sure words of encouragement would be equally if not more appreciated! If you or others want to send Colby a note, her address in VT is PO Box 1062, Manchester, VT 05254. Please pass along this information to anyone whom you think would want to know.


Common Ground

You cannot drive out darkness with darkness, only light can do that.  You cannot drive out hate with hate, only love can do that.

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Admist the muddled confusion of her monkey mind, her heart roared, quiet, strong, and centered. Her body moved through motions without attention or awareness, no hunger panged her belly. She was confused, hollow and whole, displaced and centered. Her mind versus her heart, strings forceful and opposing with limbs dancing in a comical canter between the two mountains of her soul, a shallow valley soon to be filled with smouldered seedlings, passionately sprouting in the remains of a wildfire which encapsulated her home and everything she owned to ashes. Her arms tugged at her heart. “You are safe,” it roared. Her body shifted towards the warmth of her most intuitive, passionate, empathetic, and intelligent self.

This was her. As she leaned with comfort into the warm depths of this maple-sugared orange and red familial mountainside she was tugged, snapped aggressively by her mind which was cold and wet and afraid and unfamiliar, pounding cold waves against mineralized shells in the freezing cascade of the northmost Atlantic. She was disoriented, numb, and safe. Laughter brought her back into the warm room lit with those she loved. They grew soil. They remained passionate about empowering others to grow food. They were farmers.

She looked down at her dirty soot hands, cold and brave. She mourned the trauma in the arms of her community, her mind buzzing incessently like a humming motor of a heated system in the alley of a commercial restaurant; one sole light flickering and individuals clanking quickly on weather cobblestone, the stones wet but crevices packed thin with soil. She paced all night, her slippered feet cold and hard on the wooded floor, the house slumbered, her breath shallow. What did she really value?

Her heart, as it constitutes all that she loves, her community, her family, her passion. She felt unstable and disheveled, in a state of shock and tremor from an experience which stole her home and burned all that she owned to ashes. She was broken, afraid, and unsure. Her heart demanded attention, time necessary for it to feel safe in the rain with petals strong against the calculated weight of water, and safe in the heat of the arid sun. Tended by the hands of many.


She gardened because she believed there was a better way.

She believed in the power of positivity as a lifestyle- of building an alternative, not “fighting against” paradigm; that we have the capacity to faciliate the development of neurological pathways to not only understand but think constantly, in cycles.

She believed we have lost our capacity to grasp that we are a part of a cycle, and that we have a serious responsibility to every substance, every object, every molecule we bring into that cycle.

Waste streams mean more than styrofoam cups- it means the ceramic mug you bring to the coffee shop in the name of being a responsible customer. Not just plastic bags, but canvas. She believed we are natural beings, and in that sense industrialization, cities, and chemical processes we have faciliated are also a part of the natural world- an odd extension of it. She believed we were creators and manipulators and when we manipulate the raw building blocks of the cycles we are a part of; we are indebited, required, gravely responsible for the reintroduction of these manipulated building blocks.

How do we develop this capacity to viscerally comprehend the realities of the cycles in which we live?

We garden. We have removed ourselves from the cycles that are life, we have specialized our way out of necessity for direct connection with reality. A real reality. She believed in re-establishing our lost comprehension. Connection means immersing ourselves in the truth of these cycles. What better place than a garden? What other place? Gardening is a living curriculum of cycles. A perfect place to heal our warped reality- to find our truth and insource our responsibility.


Once there was a woman who farmed because she believe in its power to change, heal, and inspire her. She believed in its ability to change us. She believed in the garden’s ability to fundamentally alter humans and our place with the land- reshifting our focus to our unavoidable place in cycles upon cycles. She farmed because she believed gardening had the capacity, the potential to be the source of this fundamental change- the hope for human’s rediscovery of this deep comprehension- our place in the cycle.

So yes,

Once upon a time there was a woman who had the day off on Sunday, November 29, 2015. Her heartColby Halligan B_W Professional 2014 was raw, charred but whole. Her mother died, and her home burned to ashes. She felt distraught, disoriented, unsafe, and vulnerable. She had a fire that burned in her belly stronger than any physical manifestation. She loved and laughed and cried and believed even in fear, we are whole and living alongside our communities.’

She used the garden to heal. She chose to walk confidently beside those she loved, cultivating health, envisioning balance and happiness, free and wild, passionate and brave.

And yes,

That woman is me.



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Class of 2015 class notes 3/3/15


Monthly Munchies

  • Reserved Moseley kitchen for March 18th
  • Digital board ad submitted
  • Need to reserve card-swiper and pick it up the day of
  • look for sign-up sheet on the google drive

Fundraising Events

  • Fundraiser 5K à need to go through Athletics to reserve CX field for 5kProblems:
  • Time and place to draw people’s attention to the 5K?(Mosley tables probably aren’t going to get much support)
  • Sport Often- an online platform to register people for events like a 5K; keeps tracks of participants and registration fees; sends us a check at the end
  • class of 2011 created a manual to host a 5K; Tom to send us this manual
  • aiming for one of the last Fridays in April or first Friday in May
  • Pelican Snowballs:
  • Eliana talking to owner of Pelican Snowballs à in the past SGA brought Pelican Snowballs to campus; could we do a profit share and have Pelican Snowballs come physically to campus (snowball truck)? à Friday afternoon in the spring on Speaker’s Corner; we could also have RFF and/or Periclean materials set up as well

Conference Call with Christine (RFF) 

  • RFF featured in Nicholas Kristof/Sheryl Wudunn’s new book and documentary, A Path Appears –> good exposure for RFF, good for fundraising; suggests we do an awareness event using A Path Appears
  •  Suggested pursuing family foundations for potential grants
  • Suggested using an online platform like Razu or Crowdrise to fundraise –> to honor our graduation, we could ask people to give a gift to this online campaign
  • excited about sustaining the partnership between RFF and Elon, would like to work with an alternative organization on campus after we leave
  • Stoles: Christine may be able to find some fabric that we could turn into stoles ourselves
  • To-Do:
    • how much total fabric do we need for stoles?
    • obtain A Path Appears
    • identify info we need for family foundation grants
    • create a list of family foundations we are looking into
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Periclean Scholars Class of 2015 Resume

Periclean Scholars Class of 2015

Elon, North Carolina ●

Mission Statement 

We, the Periclean Scholars Class of 2015 at Elon University, strive to empower individuals and communities, in both North Carolina and Haiti, by providing opportunity and hope through the exchange of knowledge and resources. We will develop mutually beneficial partnerships, locally and internationally, in the hopes of promoting social justice and human dignity, focusing on the Haitian restavek community. While remaining conscious of cultural differences, we aim to raise awareness about modern day child slavery and human trafficking. In doing so, we aspire to encourage healthy and autonomous lifestyles for those affected by these issues.



Restavek Freedom Foundation (RFF), Burlington, NC

  • Collaborate to establish a $100,000 endowment to support educational opportunities for girls in the Transitional Home.
  • Hosted Executive Director Joan Conn, Board VP Christine Buchholz, Transitional Home Director Adeline Bien-Aime, Child Advocate Roslyn Phillips, and Exhibit Coordinator Natalie Hagan at Elon


Alamance for Freedom, Burlington, NC

  • Establish an semester-long internship opportunity for Elon students
  • Attend quarterly Coalition meetings



Stand Up for Freedom: Human Trafficking and Restavek Education Week     October 2014

  • Facilitated documentary screening of Not My Life and discussion with Elon students
  • Hosted local representatives for panel on human trafficking
  • Alexis Keyworth, North Carolina Coalition Against Human Trafficking
  • Jeremy Coleman, Burlington Police Department
  • Rachel Parker, Anti-Human Trafficking Specialist from World Relief High Point
  • Liz Leon, Program Director of Alamance for Freedom
  • Meredith Edwards, Assistant District Attorney of Alamance County
  • Produced a benefit concert with performances by a capella groups, Gospel Choir, & independent student artists
  • Hosted a presentation by Adeline Bien-Aime, Director of RFF’s transitional home in Haiti
  • Showcased student research focused on human trafficking and modern slavery
  • Collaborated with RFF to display “A Day in the Life of a Restavek” exhibit


Walk for Freedom                                                                                             November 2013

  • Presented stories of trafficked children both in Haiti and the US to educate Elon students about the importance of the issue


Lecture given by representative from the Gray Haven Project                      November 2013

  • Sponsored and supported representative from a human trafficking organization in Richmond, VA to educate Elon students about the issue domestically


Resurrection Dance Theater                                                                       November 2013

  • Sponsored performance of a Haitian dance organization made up of children who have come out of domestic servitude in Haiti in order to raise awareness on campus


Celebrating Periclean Scholars                                                                       October 2013

  • Organized speakers and food for a Pan-Periclean event


Periclean Scholars Class of 2015

Elon, North Carolina ●


Periclean Induction for Class of 2016                                                               April 2013

  • Organized induction event with speakers and food
  • Served as mentors for the Class of 2016


Speakers Hosted        

  • Representatives from the Restavek Freedom Foundation
  • Liz Leon: Alamance County for Freedom
  • Representative from the Elon University Office for Advancement
  • Elizabeth Conrad: Previous Peace Corps worker stationed in Haiti
  • Jaimie Metellus: Elon student from Haiti
  • Courtney Latta: Periclean alumna who has worked extensively in Haiti



  • Attended events through the Haiti Lab at Duke University
  • Traveled to Mount Olive, NC: a Haitian community in western North Carolina
  • Gave extensive presentations based on research on Haitian history/culture and current issues
  • Read and discussed Haiti: After the Earthquake (Paul Farmer, 2011) and Little Princes (Connor Grennan, 2011)



  • Organized off-campus benefit concert to raise approximately $300 dollars for the endowment
  • Made, sold, and delivered grilled cheese in Monthly Munchies fundraiser events
  • Collaborated with the Sport and Event Management department to organize an off-campus casino night as a fundraiser
  • Raised over $250 to support a Haitian college student who serves as a translator in Haiti
  • Sold Periclean discount cards
  • Connected Elon students to fundraising efforts of girls in Restavek Freedom Foundation



  • Maintain Periclean 2015 blog that regularly reports our progress
  • Regularly contribute to the Periclean newsletter


Future Plans

                                 In the coming semester, the class hopes to:

  • Continue to extensively fundraise for the endowment for the Restavek Freedom Foundation Transitional Home
  • Publish white papers and news articles about the issues of human trafficking and restavek
  • Write and submit grant proposals for funding the endowment
  • Host speakers, show films, and/or organize campus-wide events to further educate students about human trafficking and restavek
  • Write a newsletter for our supporters about our most recent work
  • Update and add to the Class website
  • Work with a Haitian organization to create graduation stoles for the Class
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Great story about ’15’s ‘Stand Up for Freedom Week’ in Pendulum

Great story about Stand Up for Freedom Week in Pendulum

From the Pendulum story about the ’15’s benefit concert at West End:

thumb“West End Terrace was transformed into a scene out of “Pitch Perfect” during Stand up for Freedom Week, hosted by the Periclean Scholars Class of 2015. The concert featured Elon University’s a cappella groups, gospel choir and Limelight Music Group artists. Proceeds went to the Restavek Freedom Foundation, whose mission is to end Haiti’s widespread practice of child slavery.”


Here is Georgia Lee, ’15, pitching the concert at College Coffee:

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Travel warning waiver – submitted!

Woohoo! After months of meeting with Elon University officials, talking with our partner Restavek Freedom Foundation, drafting, editing, and re-editing – we have finally submitted a proposal to travel to Haiti in January 2015! The university requires these waivers to travel to countries that a travel warning from the U.S. Department of State. We’re hoping to visit Port Salud, where RFF has one of it’s transitional homes for former restavek girls, as part of our capstone Winter Term courseIt’s now in the hands of Elon – and we’re hoping to solidify our plans soon! 

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’15 Class Progress 4/24

The Class of 2015 hosted Christine Buchholz, vice president of Restavek Freedom Foundation at Elon on Tuesday. Buchholz presented to an audience that evening in Moseley. Here’s a summary of her presentation.

Imagine living in the year 2014 a second-class citizen in your own home.  You are a child, yet you live to serve this family with whom you were sent to live because your biological parents could not afford to support you. You prepare food which you are not allowed to eat, you help your “siblings” get ready to go to a school where you will never step inside to receive education. You are a child slave in Haiti. You are a restavek.

Vice President of Restavek Freedom Foundation Christine Buchholz imparted this to last night’s audience in Moseley 215 during her talk, “Modern Slavery in Haiti: the Restavek Dilemma.”  The restavek system in Haiti is illegal, but culturally it is widely accepted. It is not uncommon for a rural Haitian woman to give birth to up to 10 children, but because of Haiti’s crippling poverty, rural families often can’t afford to take care of their children.  With hopes of providing them better lives, parents will send their children to another home, typically in an urban area of the country.  The connection may be distant, Buchholz explained. Often, restavek children identify their host families as their “godparents,” “aunts” or “uncles,” though the connection can be more convoluted than that.

Buchholz projected a photo of a group of young smiling Haitian girls. You wouldn’t know from their faces in the photograph that they had once been restaveks. Restavek Freedom Foundation established a transitional home for girls taken out of restavek. The home currently holds 12 girls. It is a place of refuge for those who have been abused physically or sexually while in restavek.

At the home, the girls are provided food, shelter, therapy and education. They rebuild their lives in the company of others who become their friends and family. The home, currently located in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, is home for the girls until they are provided a stable situation, whether that is moving back with their biological family, a foster family, higher education, or living on their own if they are old enough.

Through the transitional home, the girls are provided schooling, then vocational training. They make their own jewelry and it is sold, often through events that Restavek Freedom Foundation attends. The girls put the money they make from the jewelry sales into their own bank accounts. Buchholz said some have as much as 1,000 U.S. dollars in their accounts, about $260 more than Haiti’s Gross National Income per capita. Buchholz expressed a hope that these girls will go on to start their own businesses or continue their education, but no matter what they end up doing, their future has already taken a turn for the better after having left their previous situations.

A few of the girls, and the transitional home’s host mother participate as voices on the radio program Zoukoutap, a drama that follows the stories of multiple characters, one of whom is in restavek. Restavek Freedom teamed up with Population Media Center and recently introduced the program in the hopes of spreading awareness about restavek. Buchholz said that although the restavek system of giving up one’s child for a better life is well-known and accepted throughout Haiti, rural families are often unaware of the degree of danger their sons or daughters may face when they enter a new home. As plotlines develop and characters grow and change, Restavek Freedom and Population Media Center want to monitor the response of the public in relation to issues such as restavek as they are addressed in the program.

Songs for Freedom, another initiative of Restavek Freedom, has gained enormous attention. The national singing competition began in December 2012. It was designed to spread awareness about restavek through the music and lyrics of young Haitians. 9,000 people attended the finale that year. This year, a contest will be held in every department of Haiti, and the grand finale will be held in Port-au-Prince in August 23rd, 2014.

The result of the competition was more than Buchholz had expected. The lyrics were intense and powerful, the performers acted out the traumatic lives of restaveks. “We tapped into an area of passion for these youths,” Buchholz said. The young people were finally given a venue to express their creativity and thoughts. Local media covered the competition; contestants spoke on the radio and television about restavek.

Restavek Freedom Foundation is helping to initiate conversation about the restavek issue.  The rest of us should follow suit.

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’15 Class Progress 2/25

Upcoming event: This thursday, February 2/27!!

Write red X’s on your hands to support the End It Movement, and join our Facebook event:


We had another lucrative class today. The biggest update is that Elon Academy decline our request to endow a student from Restavek Freedom Foundation to attend the summer program. So, now we’re focusing on creating an endowment for RFF directly so that they can support a student’s education at their school of choice. This option gives them much more flexibility! We’re also investigating creating an Endowed Fellowship to fund an Elon student to intern at RFF, but the ideas are very tentative so far.

Set backs are unavoidable in programs such as Periclean Scholars, but we’re as excited as ever about our collaborative projects with Restavek Freedom Foundation!

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’15 Class Progress 2/18/14

The highlight today was a conference call with Christine Buchholz, the VP of the Board of Restavek Freedom Foundation! We developed our sustainable project ideas and got updates on the nonprofit.

We are continuing to explore the possibility of creating an endowed scholarship for Elon Academy. Elon University has been ruled out as a beneficial option for the kids of RFF. They are very open to the idea of our class visiting their transitional home and community learning center in Port Salud. We will most likely contribute to their English learning program by creating a week long camp that teaches the students some particular skill – camps in the past have included harmonica instructions and putting on a play. They’re open to us using whatever our particular skill sets allow us to do best! Our class is also looking into hosting Christine and/or other RFF representatives on campus this or next semester as well as a walk-through demonstration that gives you a glimpse into what it’s like to be a restavek.

The organization has had many improvements since our last discussion. The Songs for Freedom organization is in full swing with the Port au Prince finals coming up in the next few weeks! In this program, singer/songwriters compete by perform songs about restavek. It has gained a lot of attentions (with audiences between 5-8,000) and the contestants go on to be guests on radio shows – doubling as advocates for restavek awareness. Their radio program that aims to shift social attitudes towards the restavek issue by building relationships between the characters and listeners is also in full swing. RFF has partnered with a cell service provider that has offered free text messaging so that listeners may respond to the program. The show has been estimated to reach about a million listeners, and RFF hopes to gain more funding to extend the show beyond its original 87 episodes. They have also recently partnered with Kathy Crutcher and her nonprofit Shout Mouth Press. The organization works with disadvantaged youth who are falling behind in writing skills to write and publish their own children’s books. Kathy will be traveling to Port Salud to try to write books with RFF children! The books will also be translated into Creole, illustrated by local artists, and sold on Amazon. As RFF has continued their extensive research process regarding their participants, they have found that 72% of those who have been a participant have pass grade level exams! A HUGE accomplishment for children who would have otherwise had no access to education whatsoever.

As a class we also discussed goals for each committee, and Colby Halligan led a discussion regarding the disbursement of Haitian aid.



Did you know? Merchandise purchased from nonprofit organization is now susceptible to NC sales tax due to a bill passed by our governor Pat McCrory.

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’15 Class Progress 2/11/14

Welcome back from the winter hiatus! The ’15 Periclean Scholars had their second class of the Spring semester today. For many, it was a welcome back from a semester or winter term studying abroad. Over the next several weeks, we will thoroughly enjoy hearing about their experiences abroad through small slideshows.

Our main goal today was to form new committees and define each committee’s role for the semester. We created  committees: Haitian Partner, Local Partner, PR/Campus Education and Awareness, Travel, Social, and Steering Committee. Each committee will be working on independent and yet interrelated projects outside of class time, and report the progress during class.

We additionally set the schedule for leading class discussions regarding a current or relevant article or short reading for the upcoming four classes. These discussions will be an excellent opportunity to stay up to date on happenings in Haiti and happenings in human trafficking.

Projects with Alamance for Freedom and Alamance Freedom Foundation continue to develop!

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Class of 2015 organizes an awareness event on modern slavery

Title: Restaveks: Modern Day Slavery in Haiti
Date and Time: November 22 from 4:30-6:00pm
Location: Iconic Plaza (near Moseley)
             Detective Destinie Dew from Burlington PD
             Member of Alamance for Freedom Leadership Team
             Periclean Scholar(s)  from the Class of 2015 to Haiti
Description: A photo walk displaying the situations of Restaveks (domestic slaves) in Haiti. This will be followed by a discussion with members of Alamance for Freedom, a local coalition seeking to end human trafficking in Alamance County, and Periclean Scholars who are focusing specifically on the human trafficking in Haiti known as the Restavek system. 
Sponsored by
            Periclean Scholars 2015 in conjunction with Alamance for Freedom and Restavek Freedom Foundation
IMG_0848 IMG_0849 IMG_0850 IMG_0851 IMG_0852 IMG_0853
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