Bernard Georges was born in small village, Belle-Anse, Haiti with no hope and aspirations. Struggles of his childhood in Haiti included hunger and lack of stability. He was raised by his mother with the help of his uncle. Bernard walked miles to borrow books from his peers’ for school. Bernard’s uncle was one of the few men in his family who was employed. The work by Bernard’s uncle gave him a chance to receive some of the necessities for survival that many others Haitians did not have. Such simple necessities such as clothes and shoes were a constant struggle for Bernard and his siblings. Bernard understood that he had a commitment to not only himself but also to the needs of his family.
“You wake up in the morning and you ask yourself, when is the next meal coming? You thank God whenever a meal comes.”
In 2000, Bernard’s father, whom he had met once for only 20 minutes, applied for Bernard to come to the United States. Bernard saw opportunity to improve not only his life, but also to send money to his struggling family in Haiti. After arriving in America at age 15, he enrolled in the local high school, Hope High School and graduated from Central High School.
While still trying to adjust to the new community, he was thrown out of his father’s house when he was seventeen. He was forced to sleep in a stranger’s car. He became a fulltime security guard and began a part-time job working in a factory while finishing high school. Bernard learned the value of saving money and saw the stupidity of drugs and alcohol. Bernard moved to South Providence, which he did not see as too promising for his future, either, because gang violence and drugs were key aspects of the landscape. “Where I came from, few pupils finished high school, and even fewer went on to college. Most are now are either unemployed, in welfare, in jail, deported, or dead.” Reminding himself of the significant reasons why he was in the United States, he chose to pursue his dreams of success.
“Even though I had a bad opportunity, even though I was seventeen going to be 18, I had to find a way to continue.”
After living on the streets for months, Bernard moved into his brother’s apartment for a few years until his brother had other priorities. Stranded once again, Bernard struggled to meet rent payments with minimum wage, while supporting his mother in Haiti, and completing demanding school work at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). He could sense his poverty in comparison to his friends, but through all these constant struggles, he was still grateful to be given the opportunities that America offers.
With Bernard’s continuing efforts, he received his Associate’s degree from CCRI and Bachelor’s degree at Roger Williams University. Today, he is close to achieving his Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA) with concentration in Management of Public and Nonprofit at Roger Williams, with only two classes to complete before he reaches that goal.
Bernard feels that his highest accomplishment is giving back to his community, Providence, and his home country. “I love Rhode Island, but my heart is still in Haiti.” His launched a website called www.haitipublicnews.com allows the online community to remain aware of the present day achievements and status of Haiti. Haiti Public News is a news website outlet for connecting all Haitian effectively with vital information about the Haitian community.
In addition to the website, Bernard has developed an organization called “New Bridges for Haitian Success,” which assist youths with daily living necessities. Many people can donate to Haiti through this website as well. Bernard’s hopes for the future include finishing his education and pursuing his dreams of raising money and awareness regarding the struggles of Haiti and developing opportunities for people to donate. He hopes to stay in contact with his loving family and hopefully see them soon.
Bernard is extremely proud of what his life has become today throughout all of his struggles as a child. Despite his hardships, his future is looking very bright and he tries to remain optimistic. Bernard fully believes that without the struggles he faced when he began his life in Providence, he would not be able to appreciate the opportunities he originally did not see. He now focuses on the importance of his career and soon plans to write a book going into further detail regarding his success, and hopefully to inspire others.
“I am a very proud man and I love America, I also love Rhode Island because I believe if I was somewhere else, who knows where I would have ended up.”
Compiled by Brynne Murphy and Katarina Palydowycz