Maryland resident Dr. Frank J. Nice is many things: a retired United States Public Health Service Commissioned Officer; a pharmacist; an Assistant Program Director for the Clinical Neurosciences Program at the National Institutes of Health; and the author of several books. But one of the titles he is most proud of is that of humanitarian.
Twenty years ago, Dr. Nice helped start the Orphelinat Coeur d’ Jesus (Heart of Jesus Orphanage), a K-12 school in Haiti that serves 550 students and houses around 50 orphans. In 2008, he was a founding member of Health and Education for Haiti (HEH), a non-profit that works collaboratively with the people of Haiti to address their medical, educational, infrastructural, and basic needs.
Dr. Nice has won many humanitarian awards including the Temple University School of Pharmacy Alumni Association’s Distinguished Pharmacist Practitioner Award, the University of Arizona Alumni Association’s Leo B. Hart Humanitarian Award, the United States DHHS President’s Volunteer Service Award and President’s Call to Service Lifetime Award, and the American Pharmacists Association Foundation Bowl of Hygeia Community Service Award.
About the Heart of Jesus Orphanage
The Heart of Jesus Orphanage was originally conceptualized by a friend of Dr. Nice, Fosy Josil. When they first met, Fosy introduced himself to Dr. Nice as a “brother” in a missionary order that he had started to help the children in his community.
“Whenever I came to Haiti with our medical mission teams, [Fosy] took me down the road to see a plot of land. That plot of land became an enduring monument to Fosy’s dream and vision to help the children and orphans of Leon and the surrounding area.”
—Dr. Frank J. Nice
Several years later, the school now has 12 grades plus a kindergarten, something almost unheard of in Haiti. The school has over 550 children and more than 50 orphans who receive daily support. According to Dr. Nice, these children, sadly, are the poorest of the poor of Haiti.
Dr. Nice has also helped raise funding to build a medical clinic for the Heart of Jesus students and for the 500 students of another local school, Bon Pasteur (Good Shepherd). When construction was almost completed in 2016, Hurricane Matthew struck, levelling the structure. With help, Dr. Nice has begun making the children’s health clinic a reality again.
About Health and Education for Haiti
It's Dr. Nice’s dream to help make Haiti the most beautiful country in the Caribbean, and he is working towards that dream as a co-founder, Board Member, and active volunteer of Health and Education for Haiti.
Health and Education for Haiti was formed in 2008 to bring services to the Haitian people who would otherwise not receive amenities as basic as clean water. Their main focuses are on collaboration and sustainability.
HEH works with the local leadership to address the most serious issues in their communities. This allows the organization to prioritize their programs based on the social climate.
“We believe this is critical to all of our programs, as it respects those we are helping. We have regular meetings with local leaders including the clergy, the director of the hospital, the provincial minister of health, and other local officials. This maximizes our impact by directing us to the areas of greatest need.”
In many Haitian villages, the only functioning organization is the local Catholic parish. Haitian priests provide facilities and coordination for HEH’s efforts, announcing upcoming HEH services and events to ensure that the word spreads in advance of their arrival. Although the overwhelming majority of the Haitian population is Catholic, HEH provides services to all who need them, without regard for religion.
HEH’s programs bring hope to the areas that they serve. With the help of the Haitian community, they have built churches, schools, orphanages, and medical clinics in partnership with the community, which works to maintain them.
“We believe it is important to have sustainable programs to ensure that the work we do in these areas bring generations of people the hope and ability to have a better life.”
Platypus Media and Dr. Nice
In 2019, Dr. Nice contacted Platypus Media about commissioning a bilingual English/Creole edition of our award-winning title, Cuddled and Carried / Consentido y cargado, for him to donate to the students of the Heart of Jesus Orphanage.
“Our goal is to give one of these beautiful books to each of the children we serve so they have something of their own to treasure, and this book will certainly be a treasure to hold for the children.”
—Dr. Frank J. Nice
Dr. Nice—along with fellow humanitarians, Pierre Alix Occide (pictured above right) and Jean Louijuin Honore (pictured above left)—arranged to translate the book into Haitian Creole. Dr. Nice wanted 1,000 books to give to the children of Haiti. The result is Cuddled and Carried / Karese'm epi pote'm, which will be available for purchase on March 15, 2020.
Cuddled and Carried / Karese'm epi pote'm introduces readers to early science concepts while spreading feelings of warmth and attachment, two concepts that Dr. Nice believes will really connect with the students.
You can read more about the title here. Copies can be ordered directly from Platypus Media or ordered from any bookstore. The accompanying free, downloadable Teacher’s Guide is an excellent resource for educators and parents alike, and can be downloaded at PlatypusMedia.com/Educational-Resources. It includes additional content, vocabulary, and hands-on activities that help children develop cognitive skills and improve literacy.
How You Can Help Health and Education for Haiti
HEH underwrites all of the program’s fundraising, general, and administrative expenses, so 100% of the donations received from individuals go directly to their programs in Haiti. They accept checks or credit cards through Google Checkout, Paypal, or JustGive.org.
Thinking about donating? Here is where your money goes:
$5 provides 1 person with malaria treatment
$50 provides hernia surgery for 1 person
$100 provides 1 person with cataract surgery or a child with 1 year of schooling
$1,000 provides 1 person with club foot repair or pays a teacher’s salary for 1 year
$10,000 funds a week-long medical mission or operates a primary school for 1 year
$40,000 builds a 6-room school house
Volunteers to provide care are crucial to HEH’s medical programs in Haiti. If you are interested in volunteering, as a provider or in any other capacity, you can access their volunteer page here.
For more information on Health and Education for Haiti click here.