Life Changers

Art Creation Foundation for Children
Founder Judy Hoffman’s interest in Haiti and in art brought her to Jacmel in 2000. It was during that visit when she viewed various artwork that sparked an idea to create an origanzation to help children through art. The concept was that if children could learn how to make various objects via papier mache, they would never starve, turn to prostitution, or worse. Launched in 2003 and based in Jacmel, Haiti, Art Creation Foundation For Children (ACFFC) is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of creating a community leaders, visionaries, and thinkers through arts and education.
In creating the arts program, students are inspired to be independent and productive members of society. Children in ACFFC are taught various craft techniques by master artisans, painters, photographers and mosaic artists. 
One of the most successful projects is mosaic art. The first project kicked-off shortly after the 2010 earthquake when Laurel True, of True Mosaics Studio, joined with ACFFC to instruct a group of ACFFC kids in creating a Tree of Life public art installation. Instruction included precision tile setting and mosaic glass techniques. An advanced studio program is being developed as part of the organizations teen-adult transition program.
The project—almost a metaphor in of itself—centered on turning the broken pieces of Jacmel into a new and whole city. The mosaic memorializes the lives lost in the 2010 earthquake, but also celebrates life. Mosaïque Jacmel came to life through the support by numerous commissions from citizens and business owners in city, but also from the Jacmel Office of Tourism, grants from Arcades (E.U. in collaboration with the Haitian Ministry of Culture), the U.S. Embassy and many others. According to ACFFC, this is helping to shape “Destination Jacmel”, intrinsic to the City’s new design and plans for beautification for citizens as well as a tourism experience. 
According to Katherine Bullock, ACFFC’s director of operations, ACFFC currently operates with about 60 students from age 6 to 18. “This past summer we celebrate a huge milestone with our first “graduating” class. 26 of our young adults ages 18-24 many of whom had been with ACFFC since they were children moved on from ACFFC and are beginning their lives as independent artists,” she wrote in an email.
Yet the organization realizes that Haiti’s economy, financial independence is still a challenge. ACFFC is  currently developing the Young Entrepreneurs Program (Jacmel Mozaik “This program was created as a bridge for current students and alumni, giving them a way to transition from their supported lives under ACFFC to independence. The mission of Jacmel Mozaik is to empower the young adults of ACFFC to forge their own path to financial independence by providing opportunity, business skills and a platform for their artistic creations,” said Bullock.
Other programs provide children with basic necessities that are critical for progress and to move forward. The feeding program consists of meals provided twice daily during the school week; three times on Saturdays and during the summers. In addition, ACFFC offers an educational program that helps with the cost of school for children who cannot afford to attend. The organization pays for an ACFFC child’s registration, books, uniforms, school supplies, exam fees and tuition. Also included in the ACFFC educational program is an after-school curriculum that critical thinking, creativity as a process, community service, collaboration, environmentalism, and social justice.
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