The AOG Service Spotlight highlights members of the Air Force Academy family (grads, cadets, family and friends of the Academy) every month who perform outstanding service that makes a positive and meaningful impact in their community and beyond. Let these inspiring stories foster a spirit of service within the Air Force Academy family and inspire further commitment to a lifetime of service.
Shannon Horak (parent of '23 cadet)
Shannon Horak is the parent of a '23 cadet. She works with several organizations that perform various collaborative projects in Limonade, Haiti, and its surrounding villages.
Her first trip to Haiti was with a teen ministry group, where she fell in love with the people and came back inspired to do more. As just one person, she wasn't sure how much she could help, but she certainly has and encourages others to get involved too.
As a committee member of the ALFA adult literacy program (from alfabetizasyon meaning literacy in Creole), Shannon met with teachers and students in the program at seven different village locations (Limonade, Piste, Deryal, Dibou, San Isado, Kampech, and Jede). There are 14 teachers and more than 300 students currently involved in the program. During a staff meeting, they discussed budget and new challenges as a result of a chronic lack of access to fuel and food, and how it is impacting the program.
Now in its 18th year, ALFA enables market women and peasant farmers to read and write in their own language, to become numerate, and to learn about civics, human rights, environmental issues, and the history of their own country.
Shannon is also a board member for the 501(c)(3) non-profit Konbit LaSante pou Limonad. As part of this affiliation, she assisted Haitian doctors and health care workers in four rural medical clinics. She met with them to discuss their needs, progress and challenges in their ongoing work in the communities they serve — places that are very remote with no access to doctors or health care.
She is involved with two child nutrition centers located in Jede and Limonade. She recently visited both centers, met with staff, observed the children they serve and reviewed/inspected their inventory and the overall condition of the centers. They reviewed the current MFK (Meds and Food for Kids) protocols in place that must be followed to identify, track and successfully treat moderate to severe malnutrition in children. These nutrition centers have been in place for more than 20 years, and the critical necessity for them is ongoing.
On Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, she volunteered at the CIMA School of Hope in Limonade for their Carnivale Day. There are 320 students currently enrolled in the pre-8th grade school. Her role with the school is assistant to the director of sponsorship. On Carnivale Day, Shannon helped with activities which included games, face painting and song/dance performances by the classes.
She also met with the priest and his team at St. Anne Catholic Church in Limonade on several occasions to discuss and strategize ways to improve various projects such as school sponsorship, clean water initiatives with the Water with Blessings organization and an ongoing goat distribution project, among other things.
Shannon loves working with teams in place on the ground in Haiti, and she plans to continue with these challenging but fruitful projects.
She encourages others to get involved, too. "You really don't have to have any special skills, you just have to want to do it. It doesn't have to be anything grand or in a far away place... just go do something!" she says.