American Express exec Marie-Yolaine Eusebe quits job to help Haiti

When Marie-Yolaine Eusebe visited her native Haiti five months after the earthquake, she couldn't believe the country was still so devastated.

The Bedford-Stuyvesant resident saw hundreds of rescue workers, talked to dozens of aid groups and knew about the millions of dollars do-gooders had donated - but she couldn't see any improvements.

"People kept saying, 'We're not getting any aid. Why doesn't anyone do something about this?'" said Eusebe, who was born in Port-au-Prince and moved to the U.S. when she was 5 years old.

"I was just inspired ... and decided I would see where I could help," she said

So Eusebe quit her high-paying marketing job at American Express and founded her own organization, Community2Community, to connect Haitians with specific needs to Americans with certain skills.

"If people come to me and say, 'This is what I can do,' then I can match them up with Haitians who need that help," said Eusebe.

Eusebe's first project is to rebuild the water supply system in Petit Goave, a coastal town just south of Port-au-Prince that was decimated by January's earthquake.

In June, she met with engineers from Petit Goave and read their plan to rebuild a reservoir that collects water from a freshwater spring - a plan a dozen other volunteer groups looked at without following through.

Back in New York, Eusebe connected with Manhattan-based architect Charles Newman, who agreed to review the plan and take a trip to Haiti to see it in person.

"It was incredible," said Newman, 28, who volunteered with another engineer and the Haitians in Petit Goave to come up with a new piping, water storage and pumping system for the village.

Eusebe's group paid for Newman's flight and lodging, and also supported an employee in Haiti who managed the project, keeping track of supplies, construction and budget.

At the group's first major fund-raiser tonight at the Rustik Tavern on DeKalb Ave., she hopes to make a dent toward the $50,000 she estimates it will take to pay for the water project.

"As an immigrant, I'm always sending money back, always sending clothes back," said Eusebe. "But the earthquake put me on the advance track and I just said, 'What else can I do?'"

To donate, call Eusebe at (347) 451-2152.

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Comment by Haitian All-Starz on December 10, 2010 at 11:48am

DULUTH, Minn. - A Duluth, Minnesota news anchor, who is also a registered nurse, quit her day job to help those in Haiti.

Less than two weeks before Julie Pearce makes the most important trip of her life, she’s scrambling to get the needed supplies.

Pearce graduated nursing school in august but its not her primary job. For the past four years, she’s been anchoring the weekend news for the NBC affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota. But Pearce says her true love is medicine. She recently traveled to Belize to help their people.

“It was shocking to see poverty up front and personal and walk into national geographic magazine,” said Pearce.

When she came back to the anchor desk, she started reporting on Haiti’s earthquake. Pearce said her heart broke because of the headlines she was reading. So, she walked into her news director’s office and quit her job to go to Haiti.

“I’ve got the skills and knowledge and medical expertise so in good consciousness, I couldn’t keep reading these headlines and not do something about it.”

More than 300 Minnesota registered nurses have volunteered and are awaiting deployment. With money a major issues, “The Sopranos” James Gandolfini is helping nursing organizations to raise funds for the trip.


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