Pay It Forward: Quad City Volunteer Helps Haitian People

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COLONA, Illinois - Quad City efforts to ease the suffering in Haiti will continue next week as a group of volunteers head deep into the country on a mission to repair a school and build a kitchen.

It's been just over three years since a powerful earthquake hit the poor nation.  It's a disaster that added an even greater burden on the country.

But even before the quake was felt, there was a Quad City woman making a pilgrimage to Haiti, on her own dime, to improve lives for the Haitians.  And now she's heading back, but not before getting some help.

It doesn't take a leap of faith for those at Colona's United Methodist Church to know there are angels in their midst.

"They believe in the power of Jesus," says lay minister Jon Warren.

One of those angels is a member of the congregation.  Since 2002, Joylin Clark has been paying her own way to travel to Haiti, helping to build schools, grow food, and make life better in the poorest nation in our hemisphere.

She's leading another trip, her 11th, on Tuesday, March 5th.  But as she sat listening to Sunday service, Joylin is about to get some help from her friend Bonnie her good deeds.

"Because of everything Joylin does for Haiti, and her commitment to the Haitian people, I nominated you for the 'Pay It Forward' contest and on behalf of Ascentra Credit Union and News 8 I'd like to present you with $300."

"God bless you Bonnie," said Joylin.

As much as Joylin deserves it, she knows the people of Haiti deserve it more. That's why she'll pay it forward.

"Right now the children are being taught in rooms that consist of sticks and tarps so we'll be building a new school but we're still working on getting that kitchen and that hot meal once a day so I think that 300 dollars will go toward that kitchen."

And when Joylin heads to Haiti, her friend Bonnie Davidson, a nurse, will go along to change some lives.

"People are living on trash, in tents."

Bonnie has learned that one person can make a difference...

"Whoever says that, they've met Joy."

But Joylin knows it takes friends like Bonnie and those at her church to make a difference as well.

"Very important... I cry sometimes when I think about it."

Joylin's plane leaves from Chicago to Florida and then to Haiti Tuesday morning.  If you'd like to donate to the work she's doing, just contact Colona's United Methodist Church.