Wednesday 22 February 2012

Haiti's Children "Change the world, Be a voice and Save a child"

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Nancy Rivard, founder of Airline Ambassadors International(AAI), presented a volunteer opportunity that would educate and train me about safe houses, orphanages and tent camps in relation to the issue of human trafficking in Haiti. The CNN Freedom Project came with us to document our journey.

We visited the DCPG Police Station in Port au Prince where I witnessed children being held behind bars for their own protection against exploitation. I was able to see the safehouse being built behind the jail by AAI to give children a safe place to lay their head down at night. My heart was filled with joy to know that change has begun but more safehouses are needed. One safehouse can change the lives of many children and this is just the beginning.

I had the privilege to meet Yves Prophete in charge of All Gods Children Orphanage and see the great work of love being given to the children there. My heart was touched when I met a trafficked boy who had arrived 4 months prior to our visit. He was once filled with fear and now he smiles and laughs with other children. His smile filled my heart with joy. However, my heart dropped as I walked through Delmas 31 Tent Camp. Many children are unable to attend school and families are destitute. However, AAI delivered 60 school kits from kids in Pennsylvania to help continue the education of children there.
Delphia Roberts, USAir Flight Attendant

This humanitarian experience has changed my life.  I thank Nancy Rivard for giving me an opportunity to make a difference in this world.  I will continue to advocate, educate and train others to help combat human trafficking. " Change the world, Be the voice and Save a child".

USAIR Flight Attendant,  Delphia Roberts

Join Airline Ambassadors on a mission to Haiti!

Monday 6 February 2012

Human Trafficking News and Awareness

Flight attendants, like Sandi Fiorini, are on-board with cracking down on human trafficking, a rapidly growing crime. She says, "Flight attendants could put a huge dent in the trafficking of children".  Read the latest in a BWI, Dulles human trafficking transit points story...

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Escort Story, by Terry Bobbitt

My two traveling friends...Olivia and Danielle.

No longer destined for a life of deformity, where adjustments must be conquered to make one’s way, Olivia and Danielle are two medical miracles...and what FUN it was to spend my days flying with these precious little ones!  I had the privilege of escorting these sweet girls on a journey of healing recently, and am proud to share in their courageous efforts...thrilled I could have just one small part of a day in the life with God’s greatest gifts.  A memory that will certainly remain as one most precious to me.

It always amazes me to see the people He brings together to make the medical journey a success as these children come one step closer to healing.  A trip in which the children who are in need of life-saving operations, travel half way across the world, in the arms of people they have never met, bravely battling the needed operations and recovery while staying in loving host family homes.  This new chapter in the lives of these children all take place while being away from their own families.  Such courage it must take in their own little hearts...and yet they soldier on!

I enjoyed my day of fun with Olivia...quite the princess, as we made our way to Paris.  She was on her way home to the Ivory Coast after medical treatment in the United States. Olivia eagerly ran my way as I approached her at the gate in Chicago, somehow knowing I was going to be her flying friend for the next few hours!  Sitting in the lap of a friend of mine in the Chicago Ohare airport, she flew in after being treated at a Children’s Hospital.  

At the age of three, Olivia was discovered by Doctors in Africa and flown into the United States by Airline Ambassador Children’s Medical Escort.  She received the medical treatment she needed through Children’s Medical Mission team...was loved on and cared for by her wonderful host family and then ready to head home.  
That is when I met this adorable princess!

It seems Olivia knew no strangers...and her favorite thing to say...”Oh Man!”     

She quickly captured the hearts of the crew and those in our paths that day as we traveled abroad, one step closer to the reunion with her family in Africa.

What a delightful and brave little girl!

Danielle, also in need of surgical correction on her club feet and webbed hands is just shy of two years old.  She was my traveling friend on my return from Paris into the United States, also from the Ivory Coast where she was discovered by the same Doctors to be in need of medical treatment.

Danielle wore a smile that never left her sweet angelic face!  And, her need to cuddle on my lap, while she checked out her surroundings on her new venture was just fine with me as it brought me such JOY.  Even though I don’t have daughters, God always provides in other ways!

It didn't  take me long to figure out that raisins and cheese are two of her favorites, she doesn't care too much for spinach and would prefer sugar in her milk!  What a team we became as we got to know each other! 
I could only imagine what was going on in Danielle's little mind as she checked things out on this new journey...the flight, the people, her surroundings...and all of this was done in such stride!  What a trooper my flying child was on this trip!

Danielle will be in the United States for a few months while she receives the treatment she needs and when she is ready to return...who knows, maybe I can be the one to take her.  But if not, I am sure whoever is blessed to be her traveling friend for the day will have the time of their lives with her...if only for that day.  And this I know, the memory left in their heart will be forever written as a gift from God!

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Living the Life of your Dreams by Marilyn Tam

“Living the Life of Your Dreams - The Secrets to Turning Your Dreams into Reality”, written by AAI member, Marilyn Tam, is launching on Tuesday, August 16th.

The book is available in ebook format (Ipad, kindle, nook, etc.) as well as in print.

Check it out and pick up your copy today!

Wednesday 13 April 2011

South Africa Aid Escort

Wanted to let you know we arrived safely in Johannesburg last night. Amy (my niece) and I arrived to see Silviya, Gilbert, Sharon & Grant, and all the children from Sinethemba waiting anxiously for us at the airport. It was an incredible welcome and filled our hearts with so much joy! The bags carrying the items I collected for Sinethemba and Mpumelelo arrived safely.

Today we started out by going to the wholesale market. I was able to purchase diapers, baby formula, rice, beans, cooking oil, sugar, fish in tomato paste, and toilet paper for Maria and the children at Mpumelelo. It was utterly amazing to hear the excitement for all the crayons, construction paper, pens, flash cards, and posters we brought from America. All in all, I was told over and over again, the items I brought were "exactly what we needed". Maria kept asking "how did you know that I needed 'that'?" With almost 200 children under her care, I only wished we could have provided more.

Amy and I jumped into action by asking what we could do to bring a little joy and sunshine to the center. Maria did not skip a beat by asking us to paint one of the walls in a classroom. We painted the walls light pink and yellow to make the place look a little lighter and "airy". My hope is they will be able to put up some posters to brighten up the other walls. If I had the resources, I would get them carpet for the flooring, as the concrete is very hard and the carpet that is there is extremely dirty and worn.

The children are so very blessed to have someone like Maria and the other workers looking after them. Truly an amazing woman...and an amazing day!

We will find our way back to Sinethemba ... although I think I am still full from the dinner they made us last night. I will be buying groceries to make homemade pizza, with all of the kids, for a special surprise birthday for Amy (she is turning 19) . What an amazing AAI experience! Thank you!!

Robin Schmidt
Airline Ambassadors member and volunteer

Thursday 10 February 2011

Rotary, Gift of Life Foundation Gala

It was so special to be honored by the Rotary, Gift of Life Foundation Gala and receive a beautiful airplane in pure crystal that symbolizes to me how we bring light and love around the world. AAI helped Gift of life transport 37 children from El Salvador last June for life saving heart surgeries. Last month we broke all monthly records utilizing AA's Miles for Kids in Need and transported 44 children. One of these was a Haitian girl, Lovely Adjuste, who received surgery in New York. She will return to Haiti next week escorted by our first Airline Ambassadors Rotary mission! George Solomon and team will escort Lovely home, and then travel to La Gonave providing solar panels, clean water and refurbishing the surgical clinic. Like light shining through a crystal, the good just keeps increasing!

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Anti-Trafficking Work at the Super Bowl

The training was a huge success. We trained over 50 attendees, including flight attendants, TSA officers, and hotel personnel. Traffick911 gave a great training, and attendees left feeling they had a better sense for how to recognize and respond to cases of human trafficking they encounter in their everyday lives.

Together we discussed what the airlines could do to prevent human trafficking. An idea that came up several times was to add human trafficking training to the already existing terrorism training, and to develop a standard procedure for flight attendants, pilots, dispatch, and other personnel to follow in cases of suspected human trafficking.

The training was blogged about on Free the Slaves' blog! Check it out: Airlines Should Be on Frontline of Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts

After the training ended, I spent the rest of the week at the Command Center, a building that had been generously provided for our use during our outreach campaign. Unfortunately, the snow prevented us from going out as much as planned, but we kept busy despite that. We spent our days scrubbing the web, looking at the pictures on escort ads, saving the ones that looked underage, and comparing them to pictures of missing children. Through that work, we were able to tip off the police, leading to the rescue of two children. I must admit, it was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever done, looking at pictures of children, some of them badly beaten and bruised, for sale.

When the weather was clear enough, we took to the streets for our business outreach efforts. We went to hotels, 7-11’s—anywhere the staff was likely to come in contact with potential victims of human trafficking. We showed them pictures of missing kids and asked if they’d seen them. We then encouraged them to keep the posters, and explained that we believed some of these children may have been brought to Dallas by child sex traffickers. We gave them a list of indicators that sex trafficking might be happening in their hotel, and asked them to keep an eye out. Overall, the businesses we approached were very receptive.

This past week was an incredible experience. I have been indirectly involved in fighting human trafficking for ten years. This week, I was part of a direct effort that freed two children. I know it is something I will never forget.