Foundation for Peace


February 2010

Frank Speranza with Haitian earthquake
victim Amphonsy Rooty. He speaks great
English and is a terrific singer.


See him on video.

Giving Back

Hospitality Talent Scouts, is a proud sponsor of the Foundation for Peace. Learn more about our commitment to The Foundation for Peace and how you can get involved below.

The FOUNDATION FOR PEACE is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization dedicated to education in the United States and to working hand in hand with people in materially impoverished areas of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Kenya to provide educational support, healthcare access, economic opportunity, and hope. We work together as long-term partners in solidarity to enable personal success and community achievement. We believe this will result in sustainable and successful initiatives that relieve the effects of poverty, encourage personal growth, and overcome injustice.
 
The president of the Foundation for Peace is Dr. Ken Culver, who is a medical doctor and Senior Medical Director for Novartis Pharmaceuticals in East Hanover, New Jersey.
 
Frank Speranza, President of Hospitality Talent Scouts, serves as the Chairman of the Board of Missions for the Foundation and has made multiple trips with the foundation to the countries in which it has provided services, including the devastated Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake.
 
The foundation regularly conducts medical clinics in the impoverished areas of the countries in which it works, bringing doctors and trained medical professionals to some of the poorest of the poor. They also build water treatment facilities, schools, and churches. Part of the mission of the medical clinics is to teach individuals about good personal hygiene, which itself can eliminate many medical problems. As patients leave medical clinics, the foundation provides them with hygiene kits containing tooth brushes, tooth paste, soap, shampoo, etc.
 
Frank Speranza got involved with the Foundation for Peace in the early 2000s while he was still a Vice President of Operations with Interstate Hotels, being asked if he could provide donated items for the personal hygiene kits given out at the foundation's medical clinics. Frank, along with vendor partners from Interstate Hotels & Resorts, began the annual process of securing these donated items for the foundation.
 
For several years, the Foundation for Peace invited Frank to join them on a trip to see where the supplies he was donating were being distributed and used. In the summer of 2006, he and his 14-year–old-son took their first trip with the Foundation for Peace to build a water treatment facility in the village of Brisas de los Palmares outside Santo Domingo and assisted with a medical clinic in the community as well.
 
Moved by the experience, Speranza continued his trips with the foundation, and in the past 11 years has made over 22 trips to the Island of Hispaniola, both on the Dominican and Haitian sides, including a trip in February of 2010 to Haiti after the devastating earthquakes. He continues to take his son on these trips, as well as his two daughters now.
 
In January of 2010, Frank assumed the role of Co-Chairman of the Board of Missions for the Foundation for Peace and became involved in the leadership decisions for the organization's mission trips. In 2014 he became the Chairman of the Board of Missions. Frank intends to be spending much more time in Haiti over the next few years, as the Foundation for Peace engages in projects to assist in the rebuilding of this county that has been so devastated.
 
The Foundation for Peace reaches out to thousands of people in a personal way to strengthen communities and to help individuals through our service. Anyone interested in making a donation or accompanying us on one of our trips to Haiti, Kenya or the Dominican Republic is encourage to contact Frank Speranza at frank@foundationforpeace.org, or visit the Foundation for Peace website at www.foundationforpeace.org.
 


February 2010

Frank Speranza and Stan Matti

Frank says, “Nothing describes the satisfaction of participating on one of trips better than the following letter written by my dear friend, Stan Matti, a former Rooms Division Manager at the Westin Morristown in New Jersey, who worked in my region when I was a Vice President of Operations for Interstate Hotels & Resorts. When I put out a call to the hotel community for help following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, he responded immediately. Not only did he offer to go to Haiti, but he brought another friend with him who was a trained paramedic like himself. He wrote the beautiful article below about the trip expressing what I could not put into words.”

Three weeks after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, I went with a group of medical professionals, translators, carpenters, engineers, and other volunteers to assist with camps and field hospitals in the border towns of Jimani, DR, and Fond Parisien, Haiti—places where many of the wounded from Port Au Prince and the surrounding areas were sent or fled to. Our group worked 12-15 hour days in scorching 100 degree heat tending to the wounded, building showers, digging latrines, organizing supplies, transporting patients, and doing anything and everything that needed to be done. Before our arrival, the hospital had gone 10 days without a death. Prior to that, the number of surgeries and deaths per day were astounding. Nobody died on our watch.

I've found it difficult to put the experience into words. I witnessed and heard of things I cannot write about or discuss. There were so many dichotomies that made the experience surreal—the rich and the poor living together as equals in tents; the spirit and cooperation of countries that are normally at political odds; a warehouse stocked with food and water 50 yards from hungry and thirsty families, with no method to distribute it; the fact that nature acted as the breathtaking backdrop for the human suffering brought about by its wrath.

By far, the most appreciated and rewarding thing we did was take a moment to talk to many of the victims, to hear their story of survival and loss. Basically, just sharing a moment with them that made them feel human once again, and it reminded me that above all else, a kind word or the touch of another human being, despite a language barrier, can heal many wounds. Many were now without a family or at the very least not sure of their loved ones' welfare. The only possessions they had were what they could recover after the quake, and what was given to them at the hospital. Many were now without limbs and others recovering from surgeries to correct broken bones and damaged tissues. It is difficult to define how inspiring it was to witness their strength and courage through it all.

The stories we encountered were filled with anguish
. . . the little girl who tearfully showed a picture of her entire family to one of my colleagues. She was the only survivor.
. . . the 2 men who, during the aftershock, jumped from the 2nd floor of the hospital, and subsequently died of their injuries.
. . . somebody said, “Once you've been trapped by concrete, you'll never step inside a building again.”
. . . amputees learning how to cope with their new reality.
. . . surgery (amputations) being done without general anesthesia, only sedation

There were also signs of hope
. . . the prayer service on the one-month anniversary made it evident that although they lost everything, they had not lost their faith.
. . . the teenage entrepreneur selling ice cold beers to the staff.
. . . the many newborns who took their first breaths in the camps.
. . . the accomplished artist who lost his business but not his family and continues to paint in the tents to earn an income.
. . . surgeons and all medical staff working tirelessly through the nights to save lives and limbs.
. . . the dedication and camaraderie of all volunteers, from the USA, Spain, Argentina, and other nations.
. . . singing in the tents at night. This Haitian tradition hadn't been done since the earthquake. Singing means hope.

The gratitude we experienced was humbling. One day I encountered a group of teenagers who didn't look like the friendliest bunch of guys. But they said to me, “You come to help the people of Haiti? Thank you.” This pretty much summed up the genuine appreciation the people of Haiti felt for all those that came to their aid. They do not want to be forgotten, and their long road ahead is filled with uncertainty. They want what we want - a brighter future for their children and their homeland.

On our last night, I came across a little boy, maybe 3 years old, crying. I was relieved to find out that his mother had just gone into town and would be back soon, so he was okay. He hadn't lost his mother, yet he was crying as if he had. I thought about what the thousands of newly orphaned children were going through. How are they dealing with their grief? Who is consoling them? I thought of my own girls, and a week's worth of emotion took over. I searched for him the next morning, and found him glued to his mother's side, along with his sister. She came over and held onto my hand, as if she knew, and with that, I felt it was okay for me to go home.

This trip was a life-changing experience. Now that I'm back to my usual routine, I hope to not lose my perspective, to do more good in the world, and to teach my children about a life of service and gratitude for all the freedoms our country affords us.

If you're able to give something, whether it is money, supplies, or your time, please do. The situation will get worse. Consider this the rainy season started this week, much sooner than expected. Combined with the lack of sanitation in many places, widespread outbreaks of cholera and malaria are inevitable. Consider also that the children currently living in tent cities are not going to school. These are not short-term accommodations. It's expected that people will be living in these tents for 3-5 years, meaning we're looking at an entire generation of children without a proper education if action isn't taken soon. Unfortunately, this will probably be up to the many NGOs and foreign governments already working in-country, as opposed to the Haitian government, who has largely been absent outside of the capital. There are tent cities popping up all over the country, largely unknown to aid groups, and therefore not getting the necessary attention, facilities, and support our camps received. The need for funds and supplies will be great, well into the future.


Stan Matti
February, 2010



 
This truly explains why you would want to join Hospitality Talent Scouts in being a supporter of this outstanding organization that allows materially-poor families to send their children to school, eat, drink clean water, obtain heath care, and build a better life for themselves.
 
I hope you will join Hospitality Talent Scouts and become a supporter of the Foundation for Peace.
 
Frank Speranza
Chairman / Board of Missions
Foundation for Peace Top

 

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