So many things…

There are so many things I have to share but for now they will need to wait just a few more hours. I’ll give you a hint at what’s to come: another beautiful soul stepped forward and donated the other three sewing machines! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for believing in the empowerment of our sisters in Ti-Bouk, Haiti. You have always been an inspiration to me and I feel so blessed to know you. You know who you are 🙂

We are also in the works of rebranding DAR Project and aDARable! It’s so fun and exciting to watch it all come together. Also we have been working endlessly on our new fundraising campaign which should be done in the next couple of days. It’s no small task coming up with the numbers it is going to take to provide these women with a clothing factory that will change their lives.

Speaking of life changing opportunities… I was asked in an interview today if we were paying the women minimum wage. I was also told today that it sounds like we are opening a sweatshop in Haiti. “No” to all the above. The average Haitian makes less than $200 a year. That is less than a $1 A DAY. We are paying our women $140 a month, and we aren’t just giving them a job; we are educating them and empowering them. This is something many of them never even dreamed about. But more on this later!!!

What I reeeeaaally want to share with you all… are the loves of my life. My two little pumpkins, Emery and Gigi. Tomorrow they will both fly to Honduras to spend a couple of months with my parents. This will be their 4th trip there. I selfishly have to remove myself from the equation and tell myself how amazing of an opportunity this is for them to explore more of our culture and global community. They will play with their friends Julio Ignacio and Denise Alejandro, and of course they go will go on a mission trip to provide children with clothes, food, and toys while they are there. They are my little DAR-lings…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The video below made me think of every child facing fears and embracing new opportunities.  I hope they can one day understand why we send them there every summer. I hope they too will want to try to make this beautiful place a bit better. We love them more than they know. Bon Voyage DAR-lings…
Listen. Dream Big. Conquer.

Mommy and Daddy love you SO SO much!!!


Word of Mouth, Love.

Hey everyone!

I’m excited to be writing to you all! I do have to tell y’all that this is my first blog post, not only for DAR Project, but in my life! please excuse me if my “blog etiquette” isn’t where it should be! Hopefully I’ll have plenty more entries and you all can help me learn and grow!

When Martha first asked me to write a blog post the first thing that came to mind was “word of mouth.” I must say I am in awe of not only how important this is to a growing company but also how great it feels to hear that people are interested and talking to others about our projects and dreams.

This past week with DAR Project has been overwhelming in the best of ways. As most of you might know, we have quite the list of things needed to make our aDARable project work in Haiti. We have been accepting donations for anything from fabric to scissors but the item in particular that has been heavy on our hearts has been Industrial Sewing Machines. We need 10 of these bad boys for our 10 beautiful seamstresses in Tibuk.

When Martha got back from Haiti she had expressed her worry about these machines not only to me but also to Annette over at O’More. These machines don’t exactly come cheap but how can we not provide the main component to these women who are so excited about this life changing experience?! (insert “word of mouth”) Annette, I could kiss her! Annette spread the word to her colleagues over at O’More and after realizing the importance of this item, the beautiful souls of O’More have graciously donated 7 of the 10 Industrial Sewing Machines we need!! Is this real life?! God.Is.Good.

My next “word of mouth” experience was actually about this blog! Last week I was shy but grateful when Martha gave me an unneeded moment to shine as she introduced me to all of you! I am so thankful for the love I have received from you all and so grateful for you sharing our blogs with people who are open to welcoming a new project into their lives.

I sent our blog link to my closest family and friends and before I knew it they began to share our link as well. Martha ended up texting me Friday night telling me we had an absurd amount of hits on our blog from the Bayou Bengal Insider (the inside source to LSU Athletics) and asked me if I had any affiliation..personally I don’t, but immediately I smiled. (insert “word of mouth”) Being from Louisiana, I have the typical cajun father, who’s daily activities are based off of what LSU sport is in season. I figured this had to be his doing. I called him up and he told me he spread the word of the DAR blog link to “a few of his buddies” ..I can’t tell y’all the amount of love we received from “a few of my dads buddies” but to put it simply, tears were brought to both mine and Martha’s eyes.

Having people understand and believe in you, your passions and your future goals has got to be one of the most rewarding parts of working with a nonprofit. At the end of the day, it’s in all of our hearts to give. Whether it be by giving sewing machines or just giving your support, it makes a bigger difference and means more than you know.

All of the love this past week has got us as determined as ever and so excited to see what’s to come..and for that we have you all to thank.

You and your support are the reason we’re able to give. Globally. Thank you all so much and we look forward to all the future “word of mouth” love.

Me with Annette and Jamie from O'More. These are the sewing machines they donated!

Me with Annette and Jamie from O’More. These are the sewing machines they donated!

Until next time,

Meet Taylor!

I can’t believe how we continue to move forward with DAR Project and aDARable. About a month ago, Taylor came into my office and we talked for over 2 hours. Although this isn’t unusual for me because I LOVE learning people’s stories, I was loving having conversation with her and learning how beautiful of a soul Taylor has. She is so wise in her young years and over the top positive about EVERYTHING. That same evening I received an email from her saying she wanted to learn more about DAR Project and aDARable. I’ll leave the rest of the story for her to tell, but before I do, I just want to say we are beyond blessed to have her as a part of our team! Everyone—Meet Taylor!!

Beautiful Taylor,  Our Business Operations SupasDAR!

Beautiful Taylor, Our Business Operations SupasDAR!

Hello all!
My name is Taylor and my biggest endeavor as of late has been the world of “soul searching.” Who am I? What do I want to be? What is God’s purpose and path for my life? Ah! So many simple questions that seem to have such difficult answers!

Thankfully, I was lucky enough to grow up believing that I should follow my heart and so far that philosophy has taken me to and through some pretty amazing places. I grew up with a passion for medicine, humanity and Latin America. Thus far, those passions have seen me through Pre-Med at the University of Tennessee, several medical mission trips to South America and even living abroad in Argentina. From the time I was six I knew I was going to be an Anesthesiologist for Doctors Without Borders, a volunteer organization that provides medical care to countries that otherwise wouldn’t be able to get the help they need. But when the time came to dedicate myself and take the plunge into medical school I found myself, and more importantly my heart, at a stand still.

I didn’t understand why God would give me such a change of heart at such a critical time in my life…and so began the “soul searching.” Now, after what feels like a lifetime of searching, Martha and DAR Project are my answered prayer. I couldn’t be more thrilled and thankful to be working with a soul as beautiful as Martha’s and a vision that will undoubtedly changes lives all over the world. I’m so inspired and I can’t wait to explore the rest of God’s journey that lies ahead for DAR Project!

Haiti…part 2

IMG_0352I believe everyone has a special destiny, but not everyone resolves to attain it because it takes hard work. Reaching one’s destiny requires leaving behind familiar surroundings. It also demands persistence, the ability to change, when appropriate, and the willingness to respond to those incredible gut checks that point you in the right direction.

I’ve been so persistent in following my personal destiny, but while in Haiti I came to a mental and physical road block.  I thought to myself, “How in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks am I going to make this work?”  Like I mentioned in my previous post, Tibuk, the village we are working in, has no running water.  No electricity. No resources. I knew it was going to be crazy tough, but I didn’t realize how tough it was truly going to be. Then I thought about my partners at O’More. I thought about Annette, the students designing the line. I thought about Emery and Gigi. What lesson was I going to teach them if I just threw in the towel? Then I got to know the personal stories of the women sewing the line. It was at that moment I knew I couldn’t quit, I couldn’t give up. These women need this opportunity more than we can fathom.

IMG_0616Meet Gabrielle Aliette. Gabrielle was born with a severe clubfoot defect. She has used crutches her entire life. She most likely needs an amputation and a prosthetic, but in Haiti this is almost impossible. Gabrielle has never been able to work because of her clubfoot. It was amazing seeing her sewing patterns using her one good foot. I was amazed by her fun spirit and her determination to do as well as the other women.

Gabrielle’s story changed me. From that point on I’ve been determined to make this project happen. And what do you know… things have started falling into place.

The first sign was we found an incredible Haitian project manager who knows about quality and teaches at a vocational school on Cap Haitien. He is thrilled to be a part of this project. He has the kindest heart, and he was truly an answered prayer.

Second, what are the chances that on my flight down to Miami, I sat next to this wonderful couple? We exchanged stories, and we actually ended up knowing some of the same people. That’s not the part that is exciting. It’s that on my flight home, I sat next to a lady and again we shared stories and she ended up being the sister of the woman I sat next to on my way down!! She knew all about DAR Project and aDARable because her sister shared our conversation! What are the chances of that?!

Then their was the fact that the women needed new industrial sewing machines. We needed one for each one of them. A total of 10. I’ve been back for a week, and can I just tell you we received news of a donation of 7 industrial sewing machines!!! Jamie and Annette at O’More have opened their hearts to believing in this project and were able to give the women the donation of the sewing machines.

I guess what I’m trying to say is nothing good comes easy, right Kayla?! I am meant to be working on this project. These women need us, the town of Tibuk, Haiti needs us, and we…. Well, we need them just as much.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Haiti…Part 1.

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery…we’ve got to fulfill the book”

Bob Marley

IMG_0605Haiti. Where do I start? I spent my time watching the people, the children, the women, the poorest of the poor. I mentally swam in water so deep it was hard for me to breathe. I came to help, to empower but what I didn’t realize was, I was actually going to learn more about myself than I’ve ever known. Haiti needs us, but our hearts, our souls, need the Haitian people.

I went there with a vision to empower women through our sewing project, aDARable. As many of you already know, this spring the “Designing for a Cause” class at O’More College of Design is partnering with us at DAR Project to produce a Spring 2014 children’s clothing line that will give hope to Haitian women in extreme need.

The women in Tibuk need us and this project. It was extremely difficult at times to wrap my head around this project. After my first day there, I cried and emailed Annette, the instructor of the class, because I didn’t think it would be possible, but after that moment I had so many Jesus moments, and I know WE are suppose to being doing this project.

One of the dresses in the aDARable line.

One of the dresses in the aDARable line.

They say those with little give the most. It is so true. These beautiful people have so little… no running water, no electricity, very little food, money, but they give you so much love. Love truly is Haiti’s religion and it’s become mine too. I fell in love with this beautiful country, and its people, more than I ever realized I would. I have so much to share with you, but I’m still processing everything. I will be back with more tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some pictures of my journey.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.