In the fourth part of our series, A Helping Hand for Haiti, NY1's Erin Clarke takes a look at what it's like to participate as a volunteer in the New York-based nonprofit Edeyo Foundation's service trips.
Nneka Udoh first went to Haiti shortly after the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the country. It was then that she met the children of the Edeyo School.
"We asked the children to create art work based off of their experiences from the earthquake. We felt that that was going to serve as a form of relief," Udoh said.
Though Udoh doesn't speak the language, she was able to communicate with the students.
"There were language barriers, but they didn't really serve as physical barriers that prevented us from being able to connect with the children. Just playing with the kids, participating in the arts activities really allowed me to connect with them," Udoh recalled.
Nneka also formed bonds that ultimately brought her back to the school as a volunteer with the nonprofit Edeyo Foundation.
Edeyo runs the school and makes service trips to the country throughout the year. It's a way to support the organization's programs while teaching people about its work.
"I just decided that it was a good experience to travel and give back to some kids that don't have the opportunity," said Ronald Milord, an Edeyo volunteer.
On a recent trip, the group of 10, most who have volunteered with Edeyo before, taught arts, held a career workshop and expanded on a photography program and extra-curricular activities they started the year before.
"There's so many things that you could do in this world, in this life that could make you successful," said Garald Pradieu, an Edeya volunteer.
"When we set up the basketball rims and we were teaching them basketball, they really took to it and loved it and when we came back this time you could see that what we taught them, they learned and improved on," Milord said.
Being able to start their own programs is something that volunteers say is both unique and rewarding.
"At the end of the day, my belief with non profit organizations is they work best when you can attract input," Udoh said.
The input makes for an organic experience that keeps drawing these volunteers back year after year to make an impact in the children's lives.