When a massive earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in January 2010, Junior R. Bernard saw death and destruction firsthand. A native of Haiti, Bernard wrote about the devastation and how he believed God had saved his life. He e-mailed his story to many people, including Americans he had met during their mission trip to Haiti. One of these volunteers shared Bernard’s story with Robyn Schultz, assistant director of student activities at Alvernia. Schultz contacted Bernard and encouraged him to apply to Alvernia. Now a freshman studying Communcation with a minor in English, Junior plans to become the first member of his family to graduate from college, thanks to his scholarship.
Bernard is also writing a book about his life, tentatively titled, What Would you Do? Based on his Experiences with Christ. He tutors other Alvernia students in French, one of the four languages he speaks, reads and writes. While growing up in Haiti, his first language was Creole, followed by French, English and Spanish. He taught himself English by studying a dictionary. After finishing school in Haiti, he worked as an interpreter for several non-profit organizations, including the Haitian Health Foundation.
“If I only had my own funds, I would never be here and have this hope for a bright future,” says Bernard, 22, a member of New Hope Baptist Church, Reading, where he is training to serve as leader of the youth group. “All this is possible thanks to Alvernia and its donors. I am grateful for everything. I know God has a plan for me and He will use me to help others who suffer from poverty and hunger.”