Blog Archive

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rochester, MN employees are on a mission

Rochester, MN administrative assistant, Sarah Martinak, partner, Dave Oeth, and client service representative, Julie Kaehler, recently returned from a week-long mission trip to Haiti. 

Sarah first traveled to Haiti in October 2012 and enjoyed the experience so much she planned another trip this year. When word got around the Rochester office she was returning, Dave and Julie signed up as well. To fund their trip, they raised over $1,400 selling cookbooks that included recipes from their McGladrey colleagues. 

The trip was organized through a non-profit called Visiting Orphans, located in Tennessee. A total of 15 volunteers from the United States went on this mission.

The group worked with and stayed with an organization called Respire, located in Gressier, Haiti. Respire is a free school for 500 students, as well as a transitional house for young women who need to get out of difficult situations. The organization is also building a medical clinic next to the school to provide children easy access to medical treatment.

Each day, the U.S. volunteers climbed a mountain to get to the school where they participated in telling children bible stories, planning activities for recess and spending time with children in the classroom teaching them shapes, colors and how to count. After school, they helped with adult English classes and organized community parties for children in the surrounding neighborhoods. 

Children at the school range in age from four to 10 years old. Many are restaveks, a Haitian term for child slave. The children have been sold or abandoned by their parents and given to other families to be used as slaves. Because the school is free, it has become the only educational opportunity for many of the children in Gressier. 

For more information on Visiting Orphans or Respire, visit their websites,, or

No comments: