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Poff students create art, jewelry for children in Haiti

By Bethany Hofstetter
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Artwork created by students at Poff Elementary School will travel across borders and an ocean before reaching its final destination.

This month, students in the first through fifth grades created Haitian-style jewelry and cards to send to students at the La Croix New Testament Mission in Haiti.

Elizabeth Farrell, Poff Elementary art teacher, traveled to Haiti with a mission group over the summer and helped American doctors and nurses provide medical care to the village. She stayed at La Croix New Testament Mission, in the town of La Croix, about 85 miles north of Port au Prince, and even painted a mural there.

When she learned that she would have the opportunity to return and was given permission by school administration to make the trip in January, she decided to share the experience with the Poff Elementary students.

“Because I stayed at a school, I thought there were so many opportunities to connect it to my students,” Farrell said. “It would be such a good experience to give back to other people who aren't even in this country.”

Farrell was inspired by the sculptures Haitian artists create out of oil-drum metal and had her students in the third through fifth grades create necklaces with engraved metal pendants on them. First- and second-graders made cards to send with the gifts.

“I hope they think this is awesome because they don't get a lot of new stuff,” said fifth-grader Grace Claus. “I think it's really cool because I never sent anything anywhere else.”

Farrell will distribute the necklaces and cards to some of the close to 300 students in the Haiti school, which educates preschool- to high school-age students. She also will share photos of the Poff students creating and wearing the jewelry.

“I like it because you're giving someone something they don't have and it feels really good,” said Ben Lydon, a fifth-grader.

Farrell used the art project and her return trip to Haiti to talk to the students about the country and the needs of the people. Students learned more about the country through books and photos from Farrell's first mission trip.

Farrell hopes the art lesson will teach her students about doing things for others as well as exposing them to other cultures and countries and maybe even plant the seed of future mission work.

“I had such a great experience the first time (I went to Haiti),” Farrell said. “The people there are so appreciative and kind. It felt good to be part of something so positive.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or



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