Karissa Ouren is a dedicated teacher. She spends her school year teaching Pre-K for Columbia Heights Public School in Minnesota, helping her students learn through play. In her spare time, she is also working on administrative licensures which will prepare her to someday be a principal or a director of special education.
Karissa traveled to Haiti for the first time in 2011. She returned in 2012 as a summer intern and had been returning to Haiti every six months until travel to Haiti was interrupted due to COVID-19 and the current political situation.
As a summer intern, Karissa spent most of her time researching and investigating the educational system in Haiti – meeting with teachers and school leaders.
“I learned a lot from teachers and school directors. We had a few community meetings and one thing the teachers and leaders identified was a need for ongoing support and training with their colleagues.”
Over the last ten years, Karissa has been committed to providing teacher trainings – both by traveling to Haiti to participate and by raising the necessary funds. The training sessions in Williamson typically include around 50 participants and last 2-3 days. The funding Karissa raises covers the costs for the trainer’s time and preparation (always Haitian-led), supplies for the training, and food and beverages for the teachers.
“Ongoing professional development is so important in the education field. There are so many opportunities to share resources, stories and ideas about best practices and the future of Haiti. Because much of the education is private in Haiti, their ongoing training and professional development is limited compared to our more public system in the US. There are several teachers and directors that come from more remote schools near Williamson and it is inspiring to see them connect with colleagues.”
We are so thankful that Karissa has gone above & beyond for the teachers and school leaders in Williamson and Luly. Not only is her commitment and hard work benefitting the teachers, it is also blessing the students in the schools. Well trained teachers = well educated students!
“I firmly believe in the importance of shared community and connecting people. These annual events offer a time to network, connect and reimagine the future of Haiti. Most Haitians I have spoken to say education is the key to the future of their country.”
To that we say “Amen!”
As Karissa reflects on her time in Haiti she says, “I love (and lately miss) just sitting in Williamson, dreaming big with teachers, listening to their stories and drinking Limonade.” We are excited to see how God continues to use Karissa as she pours into the teachers and leaders in the Williamson and Luly schools.
Thank you, Karissa, for going above & beyond for the people of Haiti!
Are you a teacher? Do you have a heart for education in Haiti? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!