MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With the voice of an angel, a 16-year-old girl named Tracey Dominique sings of love and dreams of a world where children feel safe and are cared for—especially the children of Haiti.
“I see myself as them,” said Dominique. “They are over there and they have to drink dirty water, got to work and sometimes they have no school, no clothes, no food and that’s sad.”
Born in Haiti, French is Tracey’s first language but it is her second chance at life, and the opportunity she’s been given in America, that fills her with gratitude, she shared with CBS4’s Chief Investigator Michele Gillen.
The images of what Haitians living in the country post-earthquake haunt Tracey, giving her an undeniable urge to help.
Tracey’s former home on the island was destroyed in the earthquake.
“It was devastating,” said Tracey. “Our old neighborhood, everything was broken and our old house went down to the ground. So I lost everything that I had left behind. I thank God that he brought me here in 2005.”
While it was destiny that spared her life, shortly after leaving Haiti she faced the deep loss of losing her father.
“To wake up and not see my dad anymore is a big challenge. It is sad,” Tracey said.
Tracey worries about her mother working two jobs a day to support the family but focuses her attention on her studies and on building an extended family of children who are facing hardships in Haiti.
In an effort to help the children of Haiti, Tracey created a foundation to help them attend summer camp where for at least a week they can be free of adult worries and feel like a kid.
So far, Tracey has raised $6,000. Her efforts attracted the attention of the Archdiocese of Miami.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski is a fan to Tracey’s devotion to others that he helped her get a scholarship into the high school of her dreams—Archbishop Curley, where she has excelled and is achieved honor roll status.
Tracey is delighted to share that she loves and finds solace in praying and that Pope Francis is her hero.
“He chose the same name, Francis—as my father. They are both humble men. I love him,” Tracey told Gillen.
Gillen asked Tracey what accomplishments does she believe would make in her make her late-father proud.
“To follow my dreams and be successful and be a pediatrician,” said Tracey. She also shared that she hopes to return to Haiti someday as a doctor to help children.
When Tracey was asked where in that moment she wanted to visit, the answer was quick and paired perfectly with her dreams of becoming a pediatrician.
“Miami Children’s Hospital. I have always wanted to go there and play with the children, pray with them, help make them happy,” said Tracey.
Tracey’s wish was granted and she, along with Gillen, visited the hospital to meet Dr. Mario Reyes, Director of Pediatric Hospital Medicine at Miami Children’s. He welcomed Tracey with open arms.
Tracey was amazed to have Dr. Reyes include her in a conference on the needs of children in Haiti, joined by Carline Toussaint, a third-year resident of Haiti University and Educational Hospital.
“Congratulations. It’s an honor to have you join us. You are on the right track. You are welcome here and we look forward to bringing you on one of our missions to Haiti,” Dr. Reyes said to Tracey.
Tracey was then welcomed into the children’s playroom where she did not arrive empty-handed. She handed each child a teddy bear from the Neighbor4Neighbors Adopt-A-Bear program.
Joining Tracey during her hospital visit were her loving aunt and uncle, thrilled and moved to see their niece fulfill her dream of visiting the hospital that they said she spoke of so often.
While CBS4 wasn’t able to introduce Tracey to her number one hero, Pope Francis, Gillen shared with her a rosary that came from St. Peters Cathedral bearing a photo of the Pope. Gillen gifted the rosary to Tracey so that she could take it with her for her travels and dreams along with the children of Haiti she carries in her heart.
When Gillen asked Tracey if she had a prayer, she responded, “I would thank you, God, for letting me have that moment to share what I have done for these kids and I hope I can keep doing it. I would like to make a difference in the world.”