The Rayjon Board (Canada)
Top row: Debbie Austin (Chairperson), John Barnfield (President & Co-Founder), John Spinozzi (Financial Director), Allison Kingston, Victoria Digby, Peterson Benjamin (Haiti)
Bottom row: Dr. Glen Maddison (Medical Director), Terry DeMarco, Bryce McGarvey (Trips Director), Cheryl DeGroot (Secretary), Brian Rea, Kurtis Lush
Left: Heather Smith – Executive Director
With Rayjon since 2016, Heather loves her role facilitating dialogue and cooperation between Rayjon and our partners in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. She’s passionate about community-centric fundraising, creating space for voices of our partners, and developing communications to engage the Canadian public in global citizenship.
Right: Piera Spinelli Barrile – Program and Communications Coordinator
Piera joined the Rayjon team in 2021. Born and raised in Haiti, she freely shares her cultural knowledge and communication skills (she’s fluent in Haitian Creole, French, English & Italian!). She holds a Master’s in International Development, and focuses on empowering international partners and sharing stories of their success back home in Canada.
Haitian & Dominican Leaders
Andre Jean-Pierre, Director (Centre for Nutrition & Education of Women & Children – C-NEW-C), Cap Haitian, Haiti
Andre has been responsible for oversight and management of the C-NEW-C since 2011, where he puts his passion for progress into action to support programs in Nutrition, Microcredit, Adult Literacy, LifeSkills, and Education.
Andre deserves special mention for his ability to build relationships, empower young leaders, and support Haitian-led initiatives. He’s also been a steady and compassionate leader through many natural disasters, occasionally leading the C-NEW-C into trauma-response mode, and serving some of the most marginalized families in urban Cap Haitian.
He’s a wonderful husband and father to three beautiful children. He is also just one of our favourite human beings, freely sharing his insight and contagious laughter. More about Andre
Renaud Thomas, Director (Rayjon Share Care Haiti – RSCH)
Renaud has been a powerful force on the Rayjon Haiti team since 2018. He is a qualified agronomist, with specializations in permaculture design and breadfruit cultivation–knowledge which he enthusiasticly shares with rural communities seeking to increase food security, combat climate change, and achieve self-sufficiency. (Read more about the “Breadfruit Project” here).
Renaud has extensive experience in international cooperation, and is a fierce advocate for gender equality and the empowerment of women, working closely with the Haitian Women’s Federation in the rural St. Marc region and supporting their efforts in Microcredit and Business Development and Adult Literacy.
In 2021, Renaud and his wife became proud parents of little Noa 🙂
Listen to Renaud explain how he believes Haiti will find solutions to its most difficult problems here.
Elida Jeanty, Women’s Federation Liaison
More about Elida coming soon!
“It just feels good to know that I am not only giving back to my community but also to know that I am investing in the next generation of Haitian leaders and young people coming up.”
“Yes, we have a lot of problems here…But, if you ask me a question like, ‘What can we do now for Haiti?’ My answer would be community solutions.”
– Renaud Thomas
“How much humility these people must have; they have so little, still, they seem to be so thankful for so much. I came to discover my own spiritual poverty.”
– Scott Burns
“My one week in Haiti taught me more about human dignity than anything else I have ever experienced. For anyone choosing to go next year, they will find as I did, that they will receive much more from the Haitians than we could ever hope to give them.”
– Elly Vukobratic
Rayjon Volunteers & Committees
Program Advisory Team
The Program Advisory Team provides support to the Program Director and Program Manager to oversee the three Community Development areas supported by Rayjon (Cap Haitian, Haiti; St. Marc,Haiti, and Consuelo, Dominican Republic). They are actively involved in building and maintaining relationships with Haitian & Dominican partners, supporting Haitian/Dominican led initiatives and direction, empowering local leaders, monitoring and evaluation, and ensuring all program activities align with Rayjon’s overall mission, goals, and Strategic Plan.
The trips committee reviews all requests for Rayjon Trips including Awareness Trips, Eyeglass Trips, and Partnership Trips and makes recommendations to the Board with respect to trip approvals, safety and policies. More about Rayjon Trips
Outreach & Fundraising
Volunteers are busy in our local community raising awareness and sharing stories about the work of our incredible partners in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Volunteers organize fundraising events, sell Rayjon coffee/vanilla/atizani, and always have a lot of fun in the process!
The Finance team is comprised of the Financial Director, the Executive Director and Rayjon volunteers who carry out financial activities including donation receipting, accounting, account reconciling and audit readiness.
The Eyeglass Program:
The Rayjon Eyeglass Program is coordinated by a committee of volunteers who meet regularly to plan all activities related to Eyeglass Trips. It takes many volunteers in Canada who receive, clean, sort, and enter glasses into a database for use in clinics. Additional volunteers become members of the Eyeglass Teams, travelling to dispense prescription glasses to those in need. More info
Where we Work & Our Int'l Partners
Learn more about our incredible Haitian and Dominican partners, and the communities where they are working to effect lasting change.