Joan Hecht has worked full time, on a volunteer basis, with the Lost Boys/Girls, since their arrival to America in 2001.
Joan established an all-volunteer 501© (3) foundation in 2004 called "Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan," to assist with their health and educational needs. To date, she has helped over 48 local Lost Boys and Girls with college tuition and books. Seven Lost Boys recently graduated from their junior college through her program, with five earning places on the Dean’s List, Presidents List and National Honor Society, as well as other awards. Another 5-7 will earn their bachelor degrees this year.
In addition to assisting with college tuition/books, her foundation has assisted with their numerous medical needs, including re-constructive surgery for one of the boys who was tortured by Sudanese soldiers. The removal of a stick from the foot of another Lost Boy, which had been lodged there for over ten years and most recently, she administered the second round of treatment for two potentially fatal parasites that they were at risk of contracting while living in Africa.
She and local Lost Boys speak actively across the US in an effort to raise awareness about the Lost Boys and the plight of the Sudanese people. She is highly sought after for her knowledge on the subject.
This fall she is launching an educational fund -raising campaign in schools across the US called Mission SSS – Stand Up – Speak Out – Stop the Genocide.
This campaign will not only help to fund the education of Lost Boys /Girl’s, but it will also help to educate American students to the plight of the Sudanese people and current events in our world history.
In honor of her work with the Lost Boys/Girls, Mrs. Hecht was named one of four finalists in the volunteer category for the 2005 EVE Awards, sponsored by the Florida Times Union. Her book, "The Journey of the Lost Boys," took First Place in Education at the 2005 Promoting Outstanding Writers (POW!) Book Awards, earning her the title, "2005 Author of the Year." Her book is also used in college curriculums across the US and 50% of the profits will benefit the people of Southern Sudan.
Mrs. Hecht has successfully helped this group of young men and women, who have faced horrors beyond our imagination, to become successful, productive citizens of our country and community.