Isson and Marie-France Joseph
Board of Directors
Founding members of Haitian Roots
The Joseph family is originally from Haiti but currently resides in Florida. Isson and Marie France Joseph were both born in Haiti and lived there until January 14, 1999. They witnessed many of the political conflicts that have risen in the country since 1986. As victims of all kinds of political and social instability, they nourish the idea of becoming a bridge for those they left behind, especially the children who symbolize hope for a better Haitian generation. Isson and Marie France were married in 1998 and are the proud parents of four children: Bradley, Bryan, Benjamin, and Barry. The founding of Haitian Roots is an expression of their willingness to alleviate the weight of the lack of education for Haiti's little ones. It is also an expression of love and affection for Haiti whose destiny relies on the efforts and sacrifices of its citizens.
Jason and Shannon Cox
Board of Directors
Founding members of Haitian Roots
The Cox family currently resides in Dallas, Texas. Jason and Shannon are the proud parents of five children: Grace, Adelaide, Andre, Miles and Lila. Andre joined the Cox family in the Summer of 2005 from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. During the adoption process, Jason and Shannon were able to visit Haiti on a few different occasions. During these trips they not only fell in love with little Andre but also with the country and its people. Their family is not completely Haitian by blood but it is all Haitian by heart. They started Haitian Roots with the Joseph family in 2005. Through Haitian Roots they hope to give back to a country and people that have already given them so much. They firmly believe that providing educational opportunities to the children of Haiti is the best way to help strengthen and solidify the future of that beautiful country.
Board of Directors
Chareyl has always had a passion for helping those less fortunate than herself, especially children. She spent 18 months as a missionary in the Philippine Islands where her compassion for poverty stricken and oppressed individuals grew. Chareyl is married to Darren and they have 6 children. Their youngest son, Robby, is adopted from Haiti. She currently works for Wasatch International Adoptions as the Haiti program manager. Chareyl has a deep love for the country of Haiti, she says that Haiti is in her blood and she can never turn away from it. She feels dedicated to the values and goals of Haiti Roots and feels strongly that hope for Haiti lies in education.
John and Deborah Wunderli
Board of Directors, Orphanage Coordinator
John and Deborah Wunderli live with their family in Sandy, Utah. Deborah volunteers as the coordinator for the orphanage and John is our treasurer. They both turned their sights toward Haiti after the devastating earthquake and have been helping ever since. They have come to love many of the Haitian people they have met and look forward to helping Haitian Roots in their effort to provide an education foras many Haitian children as the program will support.
Brittni Schroeder is a senior and editorial photographer currently living in El Paso, Texas. Her work has been featured in Senior Style Guide, Denim and Grace, Clique, Mozi Magazine, Seniorologie, El Paso Inc, Wall Street Journal and Good Morning America. She was recently named one of the 50 Most Inspiring Photographers by Snap Society and Beauty Revived. She is also the Editor-In-Chief of Mozi Magazine, a magazine for photographers. She is an active member of Haitian Roots. She has visited Haiti a number of times to help open our school and has helped others to really "see" our children through her beautiful photography. She is the mother of 3 beautiful children and has been married to her husband for 16 years.
Mary Amelia Blas
Mary Blas (Hill) is a registered nurse who grew up south of Seattle, WA and currently works and lives with her husband in North Carolina. Mary first began gaining interest in Haiti when she met Shannon Cox in 2009. After her first trip to Haiti in June of 2010, she knew it was a done deal; she'd never be the same. "It's hard to explain, but as soon as we landed in Port au Prince, I felt at peace and at home." Her subsequent visit in May of 2011 felt nothing like a visit, but rather felt as though she were returning to where she belonged. She continues to travel to Haiti with Haitian Roots as often as possible. As someone who places a high value on education for herself, it only make sense that she would support and have a desire to be part of an organization that shares her passion for encouraging independence and change through schooling. Her skills in the are of medicine are also a greatly needed asset in Haiti
Haitian Roots members met Max for the first time in Haiti in 2006. At that time he was working with another organization to help children in Haiti with what he feels most strongly about, education! He became a good friend to Haitian Roots and we're grateful to have him on our team. Max came to Utah to further his education in 2007 and met and married his wife Lina in 2009. They have one son. Max is currently attending Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. To learn more about Max, please read our blog post entitled "Max's Autobiography", which he wrote while still living in Haiti.
Daniel and Kristen Egan
Daniel and Kristin Egan are native Utahns. Daniel is a physician practicing family medicine and Kristin is a very busy stay-at-home mother. They fell in love with Haiti in 2004 during a visit to their future sons' orphanage. The next year they were able to travel to Haiti to bring their twin boys home. Since that time they and their five children have felt very connected to the people of Haiti. After the earthquake Dan traveled to Haiti to help with the medical crisis. Soon after they fell in love with 3 siblings who were orphaned in the quake and, after over two years of aching wait, they have finally added these children to their family as well. Their family of ten in now half Haitian! They are excited to be a part of an organization that cares so deeply about Haiti and it's children. They feel that educating the children of Haiti will help to bring hope to a country that has struggled for so long. They deeply believe that by reaching out to one you can influence the condition of all.
Jennifer is married to Scott and lives in Utah. They have one beautiful son. She graduated from Snow college. Jennifer has had the opportunity to do a lot of volunteer service opportunities in her life, including serving as a missionary for her church for 18 months in Portugal which included some islands in West Africa called Cape Verde. She spent time as a volunteer at an orphanage in Haiti in 2002 and has been drawn to the country ever since. From the moment Jennifer heard about Haitian Roots, she was supportive and knew she wanted to become involved. Jennifer and her extended family were actually the very first individuals to sponsor any children from Haitian Roots, a family of four children, whom they continue to support today and whom she has now had the opportunity to meet in person. We are thrilled to have her as a part of our team!
Heather Friant lives in Monroe, Utah, with her husband and six sons. One of her children (Grayson) is adopted from Haiti. Since deciding to adopt from Haiti, the Friants have had a special love for the children of Haiti and Heather is especially dedicated to their plight. She is organized, energetic, and has already donated much time and energy to the organization. Heather was able to visit Haiti fairly recently and spend time with the Haitian Roots children, including two that the Friant's sponsor personally. Of the experience she said, "We have the great honor of sponsoring two children. We got to meet them this trip and it was so cool. Vanessa's mom followed us everywhere wanting to help Kyle and me. This tiny little woman blew up soccer balls and tried to help us. Angeline's dad tried to talk to us the whole time, you could tell he had much he wanted to say. I have never wished to speak Creole more than that moment. Finally at the end he came over kissing my checks and in broken English said over and over, "God Bless You." If I ever wondered if I could come up with the money I certainly won't be wondering about that ever again." We love Heather and we are inspired by her love and dedication.
In-country Program Coordinator
Huguette was the first in-country Haiti coordinator for Haitian Roots and has been a faithful volunteer since day one. Huguette is the mother of 5 children--4 boys and 1 girl. She lives in Petion-ville. Huguette has been through a lot in her life and is a no-nonsense woman. That is very helpful in an organization like this. She has always helped us to keep things going and has volunteered countless hours over the years with patience and gratitude for Haitian Roots' mission.
In-country Program Coordinator, Orphanage Director
Harry Mardy was friends with the Cox and Joseph family before Haitian Roots began. Before becoming a coordinator, he was always willing to lend a hand by translating or doing whatever else he could to help. He loves education and was very excited about Haitian Roots and what the organization could help do for his country. He became an in-country coordinator a few years after the organization started and has become invaluable to us. Harry and his wife, Pascale, have 3 children. They live in Petion-ville at La Maison de nos Petite Enfants where Harry is the Orphanage Director.
In-country Program Coordinator
Simon began as a parent in our Haitian Roots program. He was always grateful, smiling, and trying to help us any time he could with anything we might possibly need. Simon is married and the father of 3 sons. He became another one of our in-country coordinators a couple of years ago and has done an amazing job. He is extremely organized and it would be impossible for us to keep track of the children in his area over whom he presides with out his great work ethic, honesty, and integrity.
Nate and Kayla Esplin
Nate and Kayla Esplin are from Idaho Falls, Idaho. Nate is a radiation therapist at a cancer center, and Kayla is a school psychologist. Their first son, Emmett, recently joined their family! Nate has had a love for the Haitian people since he had the opportunity to spend 2 years among them in southern Florida, including learning to speak their language, Haitian Creole, fluently. Both became involved with Haitian Roots following the devastating January 12th earthquake, and they feel very blessed to have spent time in Haiti with the Haitian Roots team, in particular spending time with and gaining a profound love for the children of Haiti. They feel very excited to be a part of such a special and noble cause and hope to continue to help Haitian Roots bring hope and opportunity to Haiti's rising generation.