you're listening to the marisa raider shell. I'm a mom of three farm wife and creative entrepreneur who thrives on helping dreamers endures make the most of their God given talents. You can consider me your newest BFF who will be in there to cheer you on and give you practical tools to use in your business and your life all while empowering you in your faith, providing you with hard truths and much motivation to get you chasing your dreams. I am bringing you actionable tips to uplevel your life and business as a busy mom and believer, I'll share laughs and encouragement with you as you chase after your God given dreams. I believe that you've been given this one life and purpose for you to live out and if you're ready to be the rock star you're meant to be then you're in the right place. Let's get started. Welcome back to another episode of the Mersa Rader show. I have another guest with us today, her name is Kayla and her and her family are just a true inspiration and the things that they are doing for the country of Haiti is just amazing.
And so I'm so excited to introduce her to you. She's going to be at our conference. Her boutique is going to be there selling items. She is going to be up on stage and talking about all of the things that they're doing their but Kayla go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself. Yeah, well there's a lot. So I don't know where to start but I was, I was born and raised in rock rapids Iowa. So I'm a Northwest Iowa girl from my roots. And after college I had the opportunity to move to Haiti and I moved there and started working with an artisan group. I was overseeing jewelry production and in that same time period I fell in love with a cute little Haitian guy to his name's way there and Weber had started running a school kind of had started his own ministry uh, in the, in the years leading up to that. And so out of that was when our ministry and nonprofit touch of hope was born.
Uh, just to meet the need of his school. So our original plan was to have just a very small sponsorship program And help pay his teachers at his school. Uh we thought like 150 kids in one school building. And today fast forward 12 years. Uh we are completing construction on our 6th and 7th building and we have more than 1200 students preparing for school this year at our school. So that's amazing. Also proof of when you tell God this is my plan, he's gonna twist it around and just like blow your socks off with what his real plan is. So Um yeah my husband's in Haiti right now finishing up the construction of those two buildings and uh it's just kind of a crazy time. We have six Children together as well. Our oldest three are adopted and then we have three biological Children and we've been stateside now since 2019.
So we're starting our fourth school year, which feels like I can't believe that time just goes by so fast. So, um, yeah, the school is the big chunk, big piece of our ministry and then we also provide the funds and take care of 32 kids at an orphanage called Titou Gardens. And then the third biggest piece of our ministry is Rosie's boutique, which is the boutique that will have at the conference. And really, it's my heartbeat in my mission because it's all about empowering moms to enable them to take care of their kids. And so in those beginning years when I was in Haiti, um, I was spending a lot of time with the school because I just thought like that would be my mission, I would be at the school a lot and I was noticing kids coming to school every morning and saying how their stomach hurts and like what, what is the deal with this? You know, and it was because they hadn't had breakfast, they weren't sick, they were just hungry. And so it was just this picture of this like holistic thing of, yes, we can provide a free education, but they still need this safe home, this place to go home to and the mom still need to be able to feed their kids.
So it's kind of how God um like shifted my perspective. He also made me a mom in like a really untraditional way I had. No, it I did not go to Haiti to adopt Children, you know, I think a lot of people when they see if I've adopted kids, I know, I think you set most families set out to adopt kids. That was that's not our story, these kids kind of just came to us. Um so I became a mom really quickly in my Haiti journey and then also that now that responsibility to feed them and then not being not being able to like understand what it would be like in the shoes of a mom that cannot feed her kid was just unfathomable to me. So Rosie's out of that Rosie's was born and um in Rosie's we partner with 10 other companies that kind of had that same holistic approach empowering the family union keeping families together. The other amazing thing about Haiti, well not amazing, but unfathomable thing is that more than 300,000 kids live in orphanages in Haiti, but like more than 90% of them have living family members, and so they're in these institutions because mom and dad really cannot feed them and they think abandoning them and giving them into these institutions are the best option.
Um and it's really just culturally ingrained uh and then that's what's best and it's not. And so I guess the work we're doing through Rosie's and this other program we run called the Starfish program is just changing that mindset of like no God created Children to be raised in families. These Children are a gift and we just want to help you have the tools to raise them because they love their, they love their kids, They don't want to give up their kids. Um, So all the part, all the companies we partner with have that same mindset, we carry just beautiful goods across the board. And then we personally in house employ 30 women. Um, actually 35. I just in the last month added five women to my team just on right now. They're on a short term contract helping us fulfill a big order. But the goal is to keep them on full time. But that was really exciting for us in the last couple of months to do that. Um, and they make all of our hand stitched greeting cards and so we're able to employ full time employment to them through that work.
There it is. Look at you. Yes, the listeners can't see them. So they'll have to check it out on the facebook group. But yes, I am a member of your monthly greeting cards club. I love them. They're amazing. Yes. Thank you. Also see one of our print signs behind you. Yes. Right. Every time we go anywhere that you have your boutique set up so that, you know, like we've been to a music festival, we've a couple of different venues that you've been at and every time my husband is like, we can't take everything home with us. You can't, you can't buy it all. And I'm like, what's another seven coffee mugs? What's four more prints that, you know, your parents are everything to me. Like it doesn't care. It's helping moms in Haiti. Exactly. And that's what I tell them. Like this is my mission to, this is how I'm going to support these moms in Haiti. I'm just gonna buy all their things and that's the motto that I've really, I don't know, I've been focusing in on and or my slogan I've been using is the way shop can change the world because I think we're always shopping gift giving, There's always something, you know, you need a gift for this or that.
And I think if we intentionally started like every time we need a greeting card, purchased our greeting cards or needed a gift for a bridal shower, baby shower and made those smaller, intentional, you know, purchasing things knowing it helped women in Haiti or around the world, there's other really great global brands that are doing the same work. Um, just the ripple effects that that can have. So that's the message, I'll probably be honing in on at the conference and just empowering us, that I think a lot of times then you hear these statistics and we get just numb to it. I'm like, oh we can't actually make a difference, right? But we can just buy the jewelry we wear or the type of greeting cards we send out and the coffee we drink. We have really awesome Haitian coffee that we carry through the boutique too. So yes, Honestly I have been to, you know, other organizations and things like that that sell things and you walk in with the intention of like, yes, I'm going to support them. I love what they're doing and you walk in and you're like nothing really like speaks to you and you just end up buying something just just to buy something That is not the case with the items that you bring in.
It is the biggest compliment ever. Like a world class boutiques, like you walk in and everything is just top of the line and some of the new products you're bringing in for the fall, I'm just like, oh, I can't wait. That's such a compliment because our goal has always been like, we don't want this to be like, you know, a synthetic like purchase, like I'm just gonna buy it. You know, like, oh I but products that you actually want and will enjoy buying so Oh yeah, no, I, I mean we work with a lot of amazing groups that are always coming out with good stuff too. So that makes my job easier as well. Oh, I love it the first time my husband and I heard you and we were talking about your mission and stuff, you hadn't said more than like three sentences I don't think. And we looked at each other and we were like this is amazing. Like we need to do whatever we can, you know to the night with this mission rob. Yes.
Yes. Yes. So good. Okay. What else can I is there any other questions you have? I just feel like that's that's the big the big picture things. There's obviously a lot of other inner whining. Yes. 100%. So you are personally impacting like 35 women just within your your Mission here and then you said you buy and get products from other missions as well. But those 35 women then they all live in Haiti. They work for you and that's allowing them to keep their kids out of these orphanages. I'm guessing that that they are pretty full there. Is that um. Yeah. Yeah I would say so. And then another I guess piece of it is that our school does provide a free education. So all of the women that work at Rosie's, I would say probably 90% of their kids go to our school too. So it's kind of just that next piece of like easing the burden because education in Haiti is not free.
They don't have these beautiful public school systems like we just brought all of our kids to today right? Like Um an average family will pay like $500 a year for a kid to go to school or like a family to go to school. Well if you're making less than $2 a day, these school fees are like astronomical. Like they just can't afford it. The statistic actually is less than 5% of kids will graduate from high school in Haiti. And so yeah and we have officially graduated four classes four years in a row. We like worked up to our graduating class when I met weber he was only up to like grade six and there's just so many things that get in the way of that like lots of teenage pregnancies and so you'll lose your girls or boys will have to go out and start working on the streets and working in the markets to provide for the family. And so we just believe the longer we can keep the kids in school and just transforming their minds creating future leaders in Haiti, it's what's going to help bring the change that the country needs.
So that yeah, I love knowing that our moms have the opportunity and then every the way it works is every thursday they go to the boutique and they hand in their cards that they've made and then they get paid and that they just there's just this really beautiful community that's been built in the sisterhood of women. A lot of them. I remember you know when they started working for me, they had no one, quite a few were homeless. I have a few women who were able to leave lifestyles of prostitution and you know just in these really lonely situations and just a few months ago we actually had a mom lose one of her babies. But as a collective community they came around her and they just surrounded her. And to me is like that's just the most beautiful thing because she had, you know, she's doing life with this community now that she might not have had before. And so yeah, there's just this other really beautiful side of not just this job we're creating, but this community that's been created to and yeah, I miss them a lot.
I miss being there on the days they were there, but we facetime and WhatsApp a lot. So I'm still connected in a lot of ways that way. But yes. Yes, I seriously, I just absolutely love your mission and the fact that you were talking about how lonely they were and how they needed that community and you're able to provide that you're providing it for their kids in the school setting. You're providing it for them in their in their work setting. Not only are they now getting the wages to be able to better support their families, they have something to get up for every day. That's a positive and they have these other women surrounding them And we kind of take that for granted here I think, and that's honestly the mission behind this entire conference that we're hosting is bringing a place because I was talking with Rebecca Scott, one of the other the speakers that's gonna be at the conference yesterday and she was talking about how after 2020 we kind of law that human connection and now we're working on rebuilding that.
And so I just think about how what we're going, what we're doing to create that here in our small area in the US, that's something they've never really had over there. But you are bringing that idea and that closeness to them. And I just think that that's a miracle in itself that they are getting that opportunity to to feel loved and to feel supported every day when they show up. Yeah. We also, God gave me like one of the most incredible managers, her name is Harmony and we've just been friends for so so long. But she is just this force of a woman, kind of, this mother figure, but like she'll slap their hands if they're being naughty too. I got my hands slapped by her before to actually uh so I just if it weren't for her, like it's the work really want to be continuing on with me being in America. So she gets a lot of the credit. But uh yeah, they're just they're a great group of women and it's I love knowing that I can do this work here and support my family because my family towards the end of my time in Haiti was being neglected in different ways.
So, but God made a way for us to be here and to be thriving as a family. But our mission in Haiti continues on to. So yeah, love it. Which is amazing because I think about if you guys were, were only in Haiti, we may not have ever had this, this opportunity to, to get to know each other and the amount of people that you've reached since you've been back and the speaking engagements that you've done in different things like that is all just part of this much bigger plan that, you know, it's, it's almost like a win win. You're able to, you know, be there for your kids and still follow your purpose in life, which I think is what all moms want. That's exactly we all want. That's why we all start our own businesses and why we're doing all the things that we're doing. You know, and it's just amazing that you're such a great testament to being able to do that. I mean, you are, you have three different energy and entities inside of your mission. You're raising six kids, your husband's gone for three weeks right now.
So you're doing it all alone. I don't think we're eating quality food. Like I will just like I actually got my hair cut last night. I told my stylist I'm like, I don't think a real meal will be had while he's gone, but it's fine. We will survive and you know what? They won't know any different. Like, okay, super. My kids ask for movie night every night and I'm like, well we can't have like adult lunchables every night and popcorn in front of a movie, you know, friday night to make a really great movie night. Oh gosh, well, thank you so much for being here and showing a little bit about your, I'm so excited for people to learn even more and honestly how you guys got started. Like if we go even further back into like, way better story and stuff is amazing. So I'm excited for people to just hear even more about that when they come to the conference or they attend the virtual version. It's gonna be a great opportunity for people to just see how following your dreams leads to something so much bigger, So much bigger.
Yes. Yes, I'm excited for it. It'll be good. Yes, I, I am too. I, I am already, like, I have a coach that I work with a business coach and she always talks about like big success, energy and every time I do one of these interviews, I always get off the off the call and I'm like, okay, now we're gonna conquer the world, we're gonna do it all because I'm just so motivated from being around such amazing women who are doing great things. So thank you again for being here and sharing your insight and your positivity with us. I can't wait for the conference. Yeah, me too. I'm looking forward to it. Awesome. Well you guys can tune in again to another episode here next thursday and we will be talking to one of our other speakers as well. So stay tuned. Be sure to check out the show notes for the link to the woman to woman facebook group and where to get your hands on the ticket. That is going to bring positivity and light to your life as well as help you grow and scale your business.