Palmer Trinity senior Kristy Joseph is a vice president of the student government association. As the VP, she plans major school events such as homecoming and other fun activities. She’s also in charge of the ICC meetings, when representatives from all the clubs get together to talk about what they are doing that week.
Joseph is a member of the Feels Like Home Club. The club chooses a family that recently moved out of a homeless shelter into their own home. This is the first family they’ve helped. The plan calls for them to work with a couple of families a year.
“We give them supplies. The family I’m working on right now they have eight kids and it’s a single mother,” she says. “We are going to give her basic kitchen supplies.”
They also donated supplies for the bedrooms and bathrooms.
When the club leader asks for the goods, Joseph goes to Target or Walmart and buys what she can – things such as paper towels or utensils.
She also looks to see if there are items at home she can donate. She has donated a couch that her father left behind when he moved to Haiti.
Joseph says that even though the homes the families are given aren’t big, compared to what they had before, the homes are amazing.
“I’m also part of the Chapman Partnership. We go to the Chapman Center (for the Homeless),” she says. “We go to feed them.”
Joseph is the secretary of Light the Way club.
“People donate gently used books and we go and read to the kids,” she says.
She is also a tutor in the writing center.
“It helps me improve my writing while I am helping them,” she says.
Her good work extends to taking part in Palmer’s annual mission trip to Nicaragua.
“We traveled to Nicaragua and built a home,” she says. “It was one bedroom. I think there were three kids.”
The students helped transfer the cement blocks used to build the home and they helped mix the cement.
“We painted the house and we played with the children,” Joseph says. “We passed out some clothing that was donated by Palmer. We also visited some orphanages.”
The trip was eye opening for her.
“Coming from Haiti, I feel I’ve experienced that type of poverty before, but seeing it someplace else I found mindboggling,” she says.
Joseph lived in Haiti for a year when was younger before moving to Miami. Her father moved back so she visits him often. While there, she goes to the orphanages and plays with the children and does what she can to help.
“I guess it’s because it’s part of my culture. In Haiti, either you are dirt poor or you are filthy rich. But the rich don’t do anything,” she says.
“The only people that can help them are people that don’t even live in the country.”
Her family donates clothes to the poor in Haiti.
“When things don’t fit, me and my twin sister put it in a bag,” she says. “And whenever my dad visits, he stays for a week and brings an extra suitcase. We put it in there.”
When he goes back home, he takes the clothes to orphanages.
“I just want to help. I see everything that is going on,” she says. “It’s sad that it’s going on even in the U.S. This is the land of the free, but people are still homeless.”
Joseph applied to Florida State and Tulane. She is considering majoring in business or communications.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld