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The Heart of an Angel

Introducing Sophie Butner, a recent graduate from Thayer Academy’s class of 2021. She will be attending Syracuse University this fall to study International Relations and Public Policy. After hearing John (Chairmen of the Board) and Cathy Huycke (sponsorship coordinator) speak about Jou Nouvo and our programs at Thayer Academy, Sophie decided to get involved as part of her Global Scholars Project.

Sophie at her Thayer Academy Graduation

Jou Nouvo’s complete cycle of hope and economic empowerment was a particular draw to Sophie in choosing to work with us, “I liked the fact that Jou Nouvo’s reach did not stop at secondary level education but gave the opportunity for University graduates to come back to Bon Repos, Haiti as entrepreneurs and aid their hometown.

Sophie is well versed in something called “Brain Drain”, a phenomenon that is happening when those who are in impoverished countries are exposed to higher education leave to find better opportunities. This makes it that much harder to find economic empowerment in these countries. “I love that Jou Nouvo focuses on educating those in Bon Repos, but also gives them job opportunities within the town to put their education to good use.” Only 1% of university educated Haitians stay on the island, but people like Sophie, and the staff at Jou Nouvo are working to change that.

Project Angel is a 5-year-old program of Thayer’s that was Sophie’s catalyst in supporting Jou Nouvo. She sold over $1,000 worth of these unique pieces of art in support of Jou Nouvo. As she says, “they (the Angels) are something tangible that people can have in their life to represent why you want to be educated and why you want to help other people be educated”. Sophie’s success from selling the angels came from thoughtful marketing by making posters, putting out notices to both the students and parents, and having an ongoing campaign through the schools Instagram to bring awareness to the cause. Buying an Angel is one way to donate in support of Jou Nouvo.

An Angel at the Thayer Academy campus.

Sophie used photos like these, of the angels placed throughout the Thayer campus. She emphasizes that she wanted to get as many people involved as possible without pressuring them or making them feel guilty.

“These angels are a symbol of hope, much like what Jou Nouvo aims to provide through education, both to those on the receiving end, and all of our donors. Buying an angel is not just donating your money, it is also buying a symbol of hope for yourself as you are able to see the difference you are making embedded in the beautiful tin of the handmade angels.”

Working with Jou Nouvo through Project Angel has helped Sophie see the difference one person can make. Sophie’s heart and mind are dedicated to making these kinds of changes in her life, and the lives of others.

See how you can make a difference