Although born and raised in the United States, I always felt an inextricable link to the country of my parents birth. My first visit to Haiti didn’t come until 2011 a year after the devastating earthquake of 2010. By this time I had already represented the country as an international track and field athlete for several years, but it was this trip that acted as the impetus for the establishment of Jump for Haiti. Spending time with the children at an orphanage in Haiti and seeing the destruction in Port-Au-Prince for myself was both a humbling and extremely moving experience and I accepted the challenge to do more to make a tangible difference in the lives of Haitian children (principally in Haiti itself, but also those in need in the United States).
The access I had to sports programs and school sports while growing up in the US played a significant role in my eventually advancing all the way to Olympic triple jump finals in London in 2012. I thus envisioned Jump for Haiti playing such a role for young Haitian athletes of the future. There is no overstating the lessons that can be learned through sports and there is also no denying the strong relationship between sports and education. As such, I worked hard to bring Jump for Haiti into existence upon returning home from the London Olympics and since 2014 the foundation has been working hard to provide Haitian children with some of the opportunities that I benefited so greatly from. Through its programs Jump for Haiti emphasizes hands on work with Children in Haiti to expose them to track and field, encourage the learning of some of sports’ most valuable lessons, emphasize the ties between sports and education, provide access to quality coaching and development and council the children on competing on various levels.