Some days I have to pinch my arm to make sure it’s really real. Like today, I pinched myself and said, “You run a Social Media Marketing firm and you are going to Haiti? Really?” Truth, at Everywhere we have all sorts of adventures that aren’t geeky on the surface. I guess because we’re all about driving conversations and sometimes the best way to do that is to have an adventure! We’ve found ourselves all over the globe from the BET awards to Beirut. We love all our clients and campaigns but there are some like Macy’s Heart of Haiti that really are close to our hearts.
Heart of Haiti is an economic empowerment initiative designed to help this devastated country deal with the after-effects of the 2010 earthquake by providing income for artists. With Macy’s Heart of Haiti, artists make stunning art out of items we’d normally discard here in the U.S. Metal artisans forge beautiful frames out of old oil barrels. Vases, fashioned out of recycled newspapers and cement bags, create colorful painted papier mache pieces. Self-taught jewelers carve cow bones into sleek ivory and black bracelets.
And what does this all have to do with social media? We have the amazing privilege of managing the social outreach for Macy’s Heart of Haiti. We connect with bloggers, tweet and speak to a great community at the Heart of Haiti Facebook page. The Heart of Haiti story resonates with bloggers who often share stories or campaigns that make a difference. Heart of Haiti, focuses on “Trade not Aid” and was founded as a partnership between Macy’s and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Haiti is an enormously creative country – I ran across the statistic (somewhere) “One in four Haitians consider themselves an artist.” With Macy’s involvement, Haitian artists apply their trade and actually earn a living. To date, the program has more than 750 artisans and their families.
This is my third trip to Haiti. Every time I go, I see real advances in the artist communities. Thanks to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, artist studios are being rebuilt. But it’s the individual stories that move me. One artist proudly told me about his pride at seeing his son go to school – a luxury he could not afford before Macy’s Heart of Haiti.
This trip to Haiti came together more or less serendipitously. Several bloggers know about our commitment to Heart of Haiti. When I started talking about possibly going back to the country, it was like that scene in Jerry Maguire where Renee Zellweger says to Tom Cruise, “You had me at hello.” We’re headed to Haiti with five amazing bloggers, all friends of Everywhere. This is not an Everywhere-sponsored trip. These five bloggers who said, “You had me at hello” also had to get their own funding to come to Haiti. While Haiti is a mere puddle-jump from Miami, flights are expensive and there’s hotel, food, and the cost of transportation. We’ll aggregate blog posts about the trip on our tumblr account and feature blog posts here at Everywhere. You can follow us on Twitter at #Bloggers4Haiti. In the meantime, here’s a list of those five amazing bloggers with whom I’m about to dive into an adventure. I’m sure they are pinching themselves too!!!
Jeannette Kaplun - ToDoBebe
Elena Sonnino – C. Mom A Day in the Life
Ana L. Flores - Spanglish Baby
Leticia Barr - Tech Savvy Mama
Nadia Jones - Justice Jonesie