The Global Guy with the
At first conversation with this soft-spoken gentle man one would never know the powerhouse lurking within. A fearless and courageous philanthropist who “does it first and asks for permission later”, Gibson Sylvestre, founder of Gibson Sylvestre Global Outreach, Inc.(www. gibsonglobaloutreach.org), remains ever so unsung in his global endeavors to positively impact communities around the world. A quote Gibson lives by is from Mother Teresa who said, “A life not lived for others is not worth living.” Having experienced educational challenges throughout childhood, Gibson vows to do whatever he can to influence underprivileged youth, and he does so with the momentum of a moving train…rapidly traveling throughout various ports of call leaving footprints of miracles upon departure.
Founded in 2003, the ministry began with several mission projects in the Caribbean, South, and Central America. One project included the founding of a vocational school in northwest Haiti (city Gwo Sab), which has now grown into 113 students and several teachers who “teach the fishermen how to catch fish rather than bringing the fish to them”. Sewing, typing, computers, and agriculture represent only a partial curriculum that is offered to the students. And then it was on to the “fauela” (ghetto) in Brazil where they developed a 12 month program to rehabilitate child drug dealers and gang lords with literacy training, counseling, and a “safe haven” that includes three meals a day, five days a week, for those who continue to flourish within the parameters of the program.
Gibson brags about the “giver’s high” he gets in what he does. Flying 300 U.S. student volunteers to the poorest townships in South Africa to plant seeds to perpetuate agriculture, presenting gifts and monetary donations to an AIDS orphanage in India, sponsoring a summer camp for Romanian orphans, and taking prostitutes off the streets in Havana, Cuba while providing them housing and employment, are just a few of the things crossed off Gibson’s to-do list. Helping to build a school in Honduras and serving in a community of over 2,000 people living and eating out of dumpsters is one of the other accomplishments he mentions as humbly as his recitation of his recent earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. “In order to break the cycle of poverty, education is the key.” Gibson, evangelist, corporate speaker, life coach and author of several books, knows how to make friends and influence people better than most.
A devastating earthquake in Haiti, a phone call to a dear friend, and the rest is history. Infectious Disease scientist and his Medical Director, Dr. Yvonne Wind-Vazquez, and Dr. Ron Jeffers, pediatric orthopedic surgeon, joined Gibson to become the wind beneath the wings for the myriad of doctors, nurses and chaplains his ministry flew to Haiti bringing services and medical supplies (over $250,000 to date) to “save limbs, not amputate them.” Dr. Wind-Vazquez has organized teams every week since the earthquake. “She’s a mom, wife, scientist, now humanitarian. I don’t how she balances everything so well.” Gibson Sylvestre Global Outreach has sent multiple teams of doctors since the earthquake. As Gibson reflects on his latest endeavor, he sighs. “I will need counseling when this is over. I will never be able to get the images out of my head.”
It is the kindness, warmth, and compassion that the organization provides that Gibson is most proud of, not the number of people he is assisting. “Treat everybody as an equal. Ignore economics. If we can treat that one patient like he is the only patient that we have, we have accomplished our goals.” -DUO