LES CAYES, Haiti — Growing up in South Florida, Michele King Soffer enjoyed the shock factor that came with telling friends that despite her blond hair and green eyes, she was Haitian.
“I grew up in Pinecrest. I went to Palmetto and most of my friends were Jewish-Americans. They were like, ‘What is all of this stuff?’?” Soffer said. “We had all of these Haitian paintings at my house and I remember my friends would come over and ask, ‘Where are you guys from?’?”
But even as Soffer, 47, proudly claimed her Haitian roots, the country itself remained distant, known only by the colorful paintings, her grandmother’s flavorful cooking, and the rich, unfamiliar Creole vocabulary her father and his brothers spoke when recounting tales of their Haiti upbringing.
That all changed, however, after Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake. The devastating disaster brought Soffer on a journey of discovery that has evolved into a personal mission as the co-founder and executive director of New Hope 4 Haiti, a Les Cayes-based orphanage, and vice chair of the Ayiti Community Trust, a newly created endowment fund in partnership with the Miami Foundation… Read the entire story