171005_HaitiChoir

A special anthem at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

There’s something unique about every person or group that’s been chosen to sing the national anthem at an Atlanta United game this year. But there was something extra special about Tuesday’s anthem singers, the Haitian Orphan Choir.

As they’ll tell you themselves, it’s a group born out of tragedy. Back in 2010, Haiti was hit by an earthquake that was one of the most catastrophic national disasters in recent history. Every member of the Haitian Orphan Choir lost their parents in the tragedy. One by one, they showed up to the Paul family household, and they were taken in. Their orphanage possessed next to nothing: several kids to every bed, limited room and supplies and intermittent power and water. But they loved to sing together, and soon it became a hobby and a talent. Now they've used that talent to make a difference.

With Atlanta-based nonprofit “Love Him Love Them” as their hub in the United States, they’ve also taken their talents on the road. Last summer, the Haitian Orphan Choir raised enough money through singing appearances and performances to completely revamp the local orphanage. They’ve installed solar panels to guarantee electricity and now have running water. Every kid has their own bunkbed and storage locker for clothes. They’ve learnd trades – like how to become bakers and sewers and have learned how to make concrete blocks. They use those blocks for construction of their own but also to sell and boost the local Haitian economy.

After returning to Haiti for the school year, they went back on tour this summer, with gospel star Kirk Franklin in front of 85,000 people in Haiti. Their performance at Tuesday’s Atlanta United game was their final appearance of the summer, as they try to raise money to build a small medical facility in their town. Meanwhile five of the students will stay in Georgia to attend Barnes Academy in Hartwell, learning as much as they can to go back and help their hometown.

If you’d like to support the Haitian Orphan Choir, there are many different levels in which you can contribute. From clothes to plane tickets, giving a little or a lot will go a long way. Click here for more information.

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