Free the Kids Entrusts Stewardship of ESPWA to Overture International

Expanding Our Efforts, Bringing HOPE to Haiti

GREENSBORO, N.C., June 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Free the Kids (FTK) is announcing today that it is passing the mantle of leadership for its mission in Haiti, Pwojè ESPWA Sud (PES or ESPWA), to Overture International (Overture). 

The FTK Board made the decision to entrust the stewardship of ESPWA to Overture because of the common goal the two organizations share to serve in the best interest of children, families, and communities in Haiti. 

Since 1998, FTK, a US 501c3 organization, has dedicated its fundraising efforts to supporting ESPWA as an orphanage in Les Cayes, Haiti, and more recently has promoted its change of mission strategy toward child development and family preservation, achieving wide acceptance for the change by its US donor base.  FTK Executive Director Frank Irr recalls, “Over the past year, great strides were made in transforming the orphanage to a child development day center by reunifying over 225 children. We have enjoyed strong backing from our key supporters.” 

After more than 20 years of service supporting ESPWA, FTK founders Father Marc Boisvert, OMI and Jack Reynolds, have retired. Upon their retirements both indicated their support for change. 

“It is time for change,” noted Fr. Boisvert in a June 2018 communication to donors.  “For ESPWA to persevere in Haiti for another 20 years requires new leadership with new skill sets, both with staff members in the U.S. and in Haiti.” He continued, “Not only must we protect our children, but it is essential to protect the institution, the structure created to serve their needs, along with being good stewards of our limited resources.”

Recently retiring from the FTK Board, Jack Reynolds recalled,

“The ESPWA mission has brought hope for a better life through providing shelter, nourishment, clothing, medicine and most importantly a solid education.  I believe it is time for me to close this chapter and turn the decision making over to others with the ability and energy to expand our vision for service to the family.” 

The FTK Board evaluated the best path forward for ESPWA and feels confident in Overture’s ability to continue advancing the ESPWA mission while increasing its impact to families and communities in Haiti.  “Overture has clearly demonstrated the capacity to provide exceptional oversight and also raise funds for ESPWA,” acknowledges Irr.  “The board has full faith and confidence in Overture’s leadership and has decided that it is also time for FTK as an organization to retire effective June 30, 2020.

Currently, ESPWA is serving over 1200 students in its schools, 150 in after school programs, 65 in a youth empowerment program and over 250 families in the southern department of Haiti. 

FTK and Overture believe children develop best and thrive in safe, stable, and nurturing families.  For children to reach their full potential, both organizations agree that an expansion of services beyond the family is required to achieve success.  This expansion of services, including community and economic development, is intended to surround families by providing a safety net for sustainable living.

“Partnerships are meant to be complimentary,” says Irr.  “The ESPWA-Overture partnership results in a more holistic solution for the development of children in Haiti.  What ESPWA offers is most beneficial to children and families.  Overture and its partner network strengthen families and build communities. Together both are creating a socio-economic eco-system that increases the chances of family survival.”

Overture will work to implement strategies that carry out the common vision of preventing family separation. These strategies will also allow Overture and its partners to reach more families in new areas of Haiti, building on the strong foundation laid by FTK and ESPWA.

About Overture International

Overture, although a new name to many, has been working for nearly a decade in Haiti providing services for ESPWA.  Overture’s mission is to empower families living in extreme poverty through sustainable social, community, and economic development.

Since 2011, the founders of Overture have worked with FTK and recognized ESPWA’s many successes.  Through this experience Overture learned of ways to help children remain with their families through development of community resources and creation of economic opportunities.  They have been a key advisor to FTK and ESPWA staffs throughout the recent transition. 

“We are honored to build on the ESPWA legacy, and we fully appreciate the sacrificial generosity of thousands of donors, who have changed the lives of so many children over the years,” says Lisa Hyatt, Overture’s Executive Director. “With ESPWA’s new strategy and Overture’s capabilities, we hope to grow our collective impact in Haiti exponentially.”

Overture International is committed to supporting the programs at ESPWA as it provides critical services to strengthening families and building communities.

Learn more about Overture at   

Free the Kids, Inc.