Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Lisa Morales - Archbishop Curley Notre Dame HS
MIAMI | Students from Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep's Diversity Action Team are brewing hope for Haiti through a three-way partnership between the students, St. Thomas University and the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews. As part of an ongoing project, the team is parsing Haitian-grown coffee beans, cleaning out and separating damaged ones from the good ones. A Miami-based proprietor located in Miami then roasts the beans for sale in the United States.
This project has given students a valuable lesson about the "fair trade" relationship that empowers rural Haitian farmers, reforests the land, and supports a sustainable socio-economic infrastructure for Haiti's future. It allows farmers in Haiti to increase their earnings from $0.65 per pound to $4.16 per pound.
"Mr. Vinciguerra swept the Curley students off their feet," said Christian Travieso, Action Team moderator. He was referring to a presentation made by Anthony Vinciguerra, the Cafe Cocano project director and director of the Center for Justice and Peace at St. Thomas University. "His presentation provided our students with information regarding free trade, social justice, and helping the less fortunate."
The Diversity Action Team is a small group of ACND students that seek to identify issues that cause division among individuals in society. The DAT Program is one of several MCCJ projects offered to students in Miami-Dade. The group's mission is to remedy specific causes of division through projects that promote awareness within the school community and beyond.Courtney Berrien, program coordinator for MCCJ, put the high school into a working relationship with Vinciguerra. Apart from the Brewing Hope for Haiti project, other Action Committee endeavors have addressed bullying and providing relief to struggling communities.
"St. Thomas University has generously paved a way for our students to have a direct influence on rural farmers in Haiti," said Travieso. "The project is essential because it gives the students a hands-on approach to the meaning of fair trade; it gives the students a chance to participate in something greater than themselves. They are given an opportunity to live out the Gospel in word and deed through the practice of virtues like compassion, sacrifice, and solidarity. This project is life-changing."