COVENTRY, Conn. (WTNH) — A desire to help jump-start a Connecticut woman’s travels – taking her on a medical mission to the Dominican Republic. A photographer captured a picture showing love instead of language. “I couldn’t say anything to her and she was pleading for help, I assume, so all I could do was hold her,” explains Elisabeth Kennedy, looking at the emotional picture.
Her natural compassion also took her to Haiti to work with children in need affected by poverty, political unrest, earthquakes and hurricanes.
“There was this sense of purpose and belonging almost like, yes, this feels right, I feel whole here,” she says.
In 2007, the Coventry woman teamed-up with a pastor to form an organization called HELO. “HELO is an acronym for home, education, love and opportunity,” explains Kennedy. What started as an effort to assist ten orphans has grown in leaps and bounds.
HELP now runs four homes and three schools that educate more than 300 kids. “I’ve prayed for Haiti’s children since my first day in Haiti,” she says with feeling.
“Once she started, I knew this was what she’d be doing for the rest of her life,” says her daughter, Sara, who joined the effort, living on the island and teaching English in 2013. “It’s so different seeing how I grew up in Middlefield, Connecticut and then going down there.”
The idea is to educate this young generation to grow-up to be leaders and create change. Kennedy saw a glimpse of this happening at a recent school celebration. “To see them all gathered, it really was very overwhelming and it hit home how many lives are being changed,” says Kennedy.
An upcoming fundraiser for HELO called An Evening of Hope is coming up on October 26th at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville. Kennedy is encouraging anyone interested to come out and learn more.
Click here for information.