I learned this story standing in the kitchen of a neighbor & new friends house on the 4th of July. When the story was over, I had tears in my eyes and just felt compelled to help this young man. First , I want to share the story in Ali's words. Ali is the neighbor,new friend, blessing along with her family who are the reason this young man will have a very new outlook on life very very soon.
Friends and Family, some of you know about this amazing little story and for the ones who don’t, we want to share it with you… 15 months ago the Glodoski family took a spring break trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Upon arriving and ready to set our feet in the sand we were greeted by an energetic, joyful man, with a smile and laugh as big as the Caribbean Sea, he had a warmth that made you feel completely comfortable, after all that is part of his job. If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Holly (Gabriel) Pierre, on vacation or know him as a friend, then you know exactly what I mean! And if not, I hope one day you’re lucky enough to. Over these past 15 months our whole family has come to love Holly like one of our own and it has become our divine mission to help him fulfill his dream. While spending a week at the resort, we quickly became friends with Holly and heard of his ONE dream; to come to America to study. Out of all the things to dream of, this is his!! We told him we would look into the Community College near us, which we did as soon as we returned. That’s when it all started rolling, and we offered to become his sponsors! This isn’t a foreign exchange program, it has been done solely through our efforts. After a pain staking, informational year and many obstacles every step of the way in the form of tests, paperwork and fees, it’s actually happening—Holly has been accepted! One test Holly had to take was a Test of English as a Foreign Language, (TOEFL) which all international students are required to take. It is a very difficult four hour test and the school requires a score of 35 to enter. He nailed it with a score of 69! His transcripts and degrees have been certified by Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE), and he’s been accepted into the school. After a recent interview at the U.S. Embassy his I-20 student visa has been approved and we are finally at the last step in this process! He will be living with us to offset his costs, and studying at Joliet Junior College, in Joliet, Illinois this August. We are so thrilled for him and all the hard work he’s put into his dream and making sure it happens! When a pride filled person tells you, “You will change the course of my existence.” “Please, just give me a chance…” that’s an amazing statement to make on his part, and for us to hear, and absorb. (Please read that sentence one more time and take it in.) This is a man who comes from Port au Prince, Haiti, survived the 2010 earthquake and all the devastation it created, which gave him no choice but to leave his family, work and home country. He’s endured constant political unrest, studied by lantern in a love filled home that is run off an electrical grid with scheduled daily blackouts and no household running water. Yet he speaks 6 languages, (Creole, French, Spanish, English, Russian and German), works hard 6 to 7 days each week, including every holiday, all while maintaining a thirst for learning, and a love of math, and cars like no other. But most of all, he has a deep unshakable faith and unbreakable spirit. It’s the only way I think you can survive and dream all at once. He has put his dream in God’s hands, which is truly how we’ve made it this far in the process! Holly only wants to make his dream come true and study, in his words, “Because the US has one of the best educational systems in the world... It also offers a dynamic modern program.” This is his only chance for an opportunity he otherwise wouldn’t have. So here’s where YOU come in… Holly’s been saving every peso, penny and Haitian gourde for the past year. International students aren’t eligible for scholarships their first year thru JJC. Federal funding, grants, or loans from a broke nation aren’t an option AND he needs to pay the first year’s costs UP FRONT. An international students costs to attend JJC is $25,000. His costs include international tuition, (which is three times the residential rates), transportation, insurance, books, tools, and winter clothing. We’ll be helping with all living expenses but the time frame only gives little time to raise the remaining $14,000 he needs to secure his enrollment in JJC. After his second year the tuition drops to 1/3 once he can apply for residentcy, not citizenship. Please consider making a difference. We’re asking for whatever amount you can share, large or small, you will make a HUGE difference in his journey. It is so appreciated! Thank you. Thank You. THANK YOU! If you have questions, don’t hesitate to message me and PLEASE SHARE. You may see the name Gabriel, don’t be confused, this is the name he goes by at work. Thank you for your support and please keep Holly in your prayers, Ali Glodoski & Holly Pierr
Holly's crowdrise page is here Holly's High Hopes Facebook page is here
Ok.. so who does that? This family went on vacation, during their vacation had intereaction with a young man who was staff at the hotel, and are now welcoming him into their home? How many thousands of people have probably interacted with this young man over the years, posssibly stopped and prayed for him and then went on with their lives? I am so moved by this families kindnesses I cannot even put it into words. I'm always yammering on about generosity of spirit. Here it is, live & in person.
This young man survived the earthquakes in Haiti, only to have to move to another country..away from his friends & family & everything he knew to go to work 7 days a week just to survive from day to day. This brilliant young man, who obviously has so much to offer our world. What impact will he be able to make now that this one family listened to him speak & heard his heart? I guess we will find out soon enough, as he will be arriving in the USA this August! But he is still not even close to raising all of the money he needs for his education. He still needs help. Here's where LINK PHOTOGRAPHY and CHERI LYN PHOTOGRAPHY are going to be helping out.
How can we give a little something back to those that want to donate to Holly? Portraits! We are holding a very special mini-session event at Eaton Preserve in Plainfield, IL on Sunday, August 23rd.
Holly's High Hopes Mini Session Event -
• August 23rd
• Eaton Preserve is located at 191 135th St, Plainfield, IL 60544
• By Appointment Only
• $25 MINIMUM donation required to book your session
• All families will recieve five digital images, a print release, and a password protected gallery in which to view & share portraits
• We willh ave the amazingly talented Cindy Sing , master stylist , available to us on the 23rd to help keep everyone looking beautiful with hair touch ups. Condy comes to us from The Salon at Australian Sun.
• Multiple families will need multiple bookings
•If you want more than one time slot, you will be required to pay an additional donation minimum
•Great for families, children, babies ( must be sitting up unassisted if infant is alone in portrait ) couples, and the family pet
• Please arrive ten minutes before your session start time. This will give you time to check in & get ready for a fun time!
•You will be given a due date when your mini session has concluded - this is when your portraits will be ready to view & download
•The portraits will come as digital downloads. We do not offer discs or flash drive alternatives.
• Family groups bigger than 7 will require two appointment times. Which means a $50 donation.
•You get to meet Holly :) Holly will be with us the day of the photo sessions. He's looking forward to meeting everyone & taking some candid pictures for our websites
How do I book the appointment ? Call or email the fabulous Ali Glodoski at 815.210.0053 email : firstname.lastname@example.org From there, she will instruct you on how to make your donation so that your appointment is booked. All appointment bookings will require the minimum donation is paid in order to receive a time slot. No holds will be allowed without payment. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter as it's best for Holly. Holly will be starting JJC the very next day!!
•No outfit changes permitted for these mini sessions. We are trying to keep on time as best we can with basing all of our appointments around the cooperation of little ones.
• If you are late for your appointment we promise to be kind to you & patient with you. You will need to be patient & kind to us. Because all of our appointments are booked back to back, and it wouldn't be fair for us to make someone who arrives on time to be pushed back, we will fit you in just as soon as we can. Please be patient. We understand these things happen & we can't wait to take your pictures. You will not get in right away if you are late. You will be taken care of and still get amazing portraits!
•Running on time. We will do our best to run on time all day long. However, all it takes is one appointment to come late for us to get behind for an entire day. Please be considerate of others and do your best to arrive a couple minutes early to check in. Thank you so much!
• While we are fortunate enough to have a stylist that wants to contribute her time and talent. . . she is not doing hairstyles for the whole family. Please come with your hair done & she will be there for touch-ups, and helping keep everyone looking their best. We are blessed to have her!
• If you wake up with a bump or blemish - don't cancel. Basic retouching will be inlcuded. Basic retouching are things like blemishes, small bruises, bumps, pimples, smoothing out fly aways and things of that nature. Basic retouching doesn't include heavy eye glass glare, removing braces, or photoshopping someone to look like someone else :) WE LOVE YOU JUST AS YOU ARE :)
•If you are bringing the family pet, please keep the following items in mind. Bring water for your dog. It's August, he'll likely be thirsty & need it. Bring a bowl for your dog to drink out. Your dog must remain on a leash the entire time. Dogs are not allowed off-leash at this location. Photographers will make sure the leash is hidden in your portraits. I know you're dog is a good dog, but the two year old waiting for the next appointment may be terrified. Be considerate :) If you have a dog that is afraid of other dogs, does not play well with others, or is not child friendly - we might ask that you really consider whether or not he should come to this event. Be considerate & kindness matters. We love dogs. Totally love them, we also have to think of all of our guests. Thank you for understanding!
•What should I wear for a family portrait ? Here's an awesome link to one of my boards on Pinterest about what to wear The biggest thing to remember is to avoid being too matchy-matchy. Choose a color and blend with it. Everyone wears a different shade from that color. Accessories rock and really nice touches to portraits. Don't be afraid to have fun with it. These are your pictures. Take the time to plan out some great outfits. Shoes matter! There will be full length pictures. Nail polish needs to be completely polished or unpolished. There's so much learn to learn by clicking on the what to wear link above.
•What if it rains ? If it rains the entire day or even only during your appointment time. We have ONE rain date. The rain date is Sunday, September 13th, 2015. There will be NO OTHER options given for a rain date. We will not be able photograph you at any other time if we get rained out the first day. You must make yourself available for the 13th to have your pictures taken. We will simply keep all the same appointment times and move them over to the rain date in September. What happens if you miss the scheduled rain date? We thank you for your generous donation to Holly's High Hopes :) :) It's a good idea to block off that raind ate now :) If bad weather is in the forecast - we will be in touch. It's unlikley that it even if it does rain it's going to rain non stop for the entire day.
• Appointment times available. Right now we are offering appointments starting as early as 6:15am ( for those wishing to get to church & Sunday breakfast after pictures ) and they will run every fifteen minutes until about 11:00am. Picture times will resume at 5:00pm and go until sunset. Once we fill all of those time slots, we will then double book and add photographers wherever we need too. We are both natural light photographers and like to photograph when the light looks best for portraits.
• Are you a photographer & you want to donate services? Please contact email@example.com. If the need arises, and we need additional photographers, we would love to be able to contact you ( in advance ) We are not sure how many appointments will be booking at this time, so we dont' know just yet if we will need anyone else. Thank you for cosidering helping Holly!
• If you'd like to donate, but aren't wanting to come to Plainfield for pictures .. you can absolutely do that by visiting Holly's High Hopes - Thank you for your generous donation.
• If you donate $500 or more, you will be given all of the digital images in your gallery ( a $625 value ) print rights, two appointment times & a password protected gallery. You will also get a special portrait with Holly at the end of your photo session!
• Can I choose which photographer my family will have? We will do our best to accomodate special requests, but cannnot promise it. All of the photographers helping Holly on this day own their own photography businesses & are super crazy talented. You will love your portraits & you'll be helping Holly reach his goal. We can't thank you enough for that.
I am so excited to be a part of this. Generosity of spirit. Thank you for listening & I can't wait to meet you all! - Cheri