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School of Social Work Holds Clothing/Food Drive for Pregnant Teens in Haiti's Cite Soleil

School of Social Work Holds Clothing/Food Drive for Pregnant Teens in Haiti's Cite Soleil

For many youngsters around the world, Christmas is not a time for receiving and sharing gifts. Many children in Cité Soleil grow up having never celebrated Christmas due to the extreme poverty in their neighborhood. Drs. Rahill and Joshi's Krik Krak: Mental Health for Pregnant Haitian Teens grant, funded by the Grand Challenges Exploration Round 20 of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, targets pregnant teens in Haiti's Cité Soleil. Their first round of focus groups revealed several challenges faced by pregnant teens in Cité Soleil, including the need for clothing for the young women and supplies for newborn infants, such as clothing, bottles, washable diapers, and toys. Thus, Cameron Burris, an MSW student and Project Coordinator for the Krik Krak grant and Alexandra Pellot, an MSW student and Graduate assistant, spearheaded a clothing and non-perishable food drive in collaboration with Jenifer Ollis, president of the USF Social Work Society in, a student-run organization.

During the second phase of the grant, when Drs. Rahill and Joshi returned to Cité Soleil to film video interventions that address the biopsychosocial challenges which the identified teens had shared in the first focus groups, they brought clothing and food for mothers and babies, some of whom had been born since the previous trip. They gave those donations to community-based colleagues at Cité Soleil's OREZON. Colleagues at OREZON sorted through and organized the donations two days before Christmas, providing mothers with gifts for themselves and their children. Mothers even enjoyed blowing balloons, something they never had as children. We were grateful to be able to share clothing drive items with mothers in the community and not just those from our focus groups. We extend our deepest gratitude to the Social Work Society for their willingness to collaborate with us in meeting the essential needs of young mothers in Haiti.