Good People Good Work
Dr. Ted Ridoré: Spreading God's Love Through Teaching and Giving      
There are a lot of people that need love out there. Sometimes an act of love, an act of caring can change a whole family.

Hallo excellent viewers and welcome to Good People, Good Works. This week we are speaking with the caring Dr. Ted Ridoré. Born in Haiti and with a humble beginning to life, Dr. Ridoré was illiterate until the age of 17, when he was taught how to read and write by a French missionary.

This sparked a passion for education and through much discipline and determination, Dr. Ridoré has gone on to earn two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one in communications and the other in education, two master’s degrees, one in education and one in family counseling, and doctorates in philosophy, education and theology. Remembering his own lack of access to education during childhood and early adulthood, Dr. Ridoré has dedicated his life to giving to others as well as providing them with opportunities to learn.

He is the founder of Lighthouse High School in Orlando, Florida, USA, founder and president of two online higher education institutions, Cornerstone University of Florida and Cornerstone Christian University, founder of the Help Me Too Foundation, which serves underprivileged children and youth in Haiti with free food, education and shelter, and has helped people from all walks of life to gain reading and writing skills.

Now living in Florida, USA, Dr. Ridoré has become a role model to thousands of young people embarking on a quest for more knowledge. He now relates his chance meeting with the missionary from France who changed his life forever.

He used to be a schoolteacher; he retired in Haiti. Being retired he still wanted something to do, his passion is education, so he was walking around in the daytime when kids are supposed to be in school, and every kid of course that he crossed paths with, he asked them, “Why don’t you go to school?”

And that’s how one day I crossed paths with him, he asked me, “Why don’t you go to school?” It was about 10 o’clock in the morning, so I said, “I’m not in school.” He said, “Why aren’t you in school?” I said, because my sister didn’t put me in school. Then he said, “Would you like to know how to read?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “You can come to my house, I can teach you how to read.”

This initial contact with learning transformed Dr. Ridoré. In the years that followed, he felt a deep yearning to teach others how to read and write. Prior to opening his online universities, he taught these skills to 11,000 people.

So I decided to find anybody who didn’t know how to read, and with the little basic English that I had, I wanted to teach, even if I showed them how to write their name, I’d be satisfied. So that’s how I started. We started in churches, then we went into parks and things like that. That’s what I did for many, many, many, many years.

And I taught a lot of people, a lot of people from all diverse backgrounds, how to read and write and some of them went to high school. We still have a lot of them in college right now, people that I taught how to read, just the basics, and I still have those people even in my life today, who call me from time to time and think of me. So when I think about it, it’s just that it’s beyond imagination.

So God foresaw from the beginning, He saw all those people were waiting for me and He could have used somebody else. But I guess He decided to use me, just like this guy (the missionary) from France. I think he came to Haiti just for me. Even though he had other kids, I think he came just for me to know how to read. So that’s how I showed those people how to read.

In 1979, Dr. Ridoré began a ministry by holding Bible studies in people’s homes, libraries, and parks, and in 1991 he became a pastor. Through pastoring and teaching, he saw the hunger and thirst that people had for God’s Word. This inspired him to found Cornerstone Christian High School, now known as Lighthouse High School, and two universities. Cornerstone Christian University offers degrees in theology, biblical studies and other areas. Though it is a Christian university, the curriculum introduces students to all faiths.

We teach about different groups, different religions, different backgrounds. We have courses on different groups, we have courses on Buddhism, we have courses on Islam and Judaism, because we want people to learn.

We asked Dr. Ridoré how he defines success.

Every time I get the opportunity to help someone, I call that success for me. But every time somebody walks through this door and walks out smiling, to me it’s success. And we have a high school diploma program for adults. And we have people that never thought one day that they would have a high school diploma in their hands.

Well, guess what? Those people right now, they’re in college because we were able to help them to get their high school diploma. So when they come here, they go out smiling and happy; that’s my success.

For those children in the world who do not have the opportunity to go to school, Dr. Ridoré offers the following advice.

I would say there is hope. And I would say check with the library system if you’re in an area where you can get access to a library. If you’re involved with a church get involved with a church and ask anybody if you can if they can teach you how to read. I wish I had done that, but everything has a certain time marked to it, and God knew the time that was set-aside for me.

But I would say to them, if you have anybody in your church that shows they care, ask them if they can teach you how to read. And right now we’re living in the United States. There’s a lot of opportunity. And if they’re local, they want to call me, I’ll still show them how to read.

Dr. Ridoré’s heartfelt desire to help the less fortunate led him to establish the Help Me Too Foundation which is dedicated to feeding, clothing, and providing an education to Haitian children and young adults in need. Regarding the mission of the Foundation, Dr. Ridoré states: “We serve the deprived and help them fulfill their God-given potential.”

The Foundation previously operated an orphanage that was opened by Dr. Ridoré, however sadly the building was destroyed in the January 2010 Haiti earthquake. With a long-term goal of building a new orphanage, the Foundation still helps children without someone to care for them find a place to call home on an individual basis.

Shortly after the earthquake, Dr. Ridoré returned to Haiti to help the relief teams with translation and interpreting. With his knowledge of English and the local languages, he worked closely with our Association members who were providing medical aid to victims. We asked Dr. Ridoré to talk about the importance of volunteerism.

Well, for me I think one principle that helps me a lot is to be able to give back to others because we have received so many blessings and sometimes we seem to take it for granted. But if you’re able to go back and give something to people, that’s how I started teaching people how to read.

I’ve been volunteering for a lot of organizations even here in the United States. I volunteered for the Red Cross and (there are) a lot of other programs I (have also) volunteered (for). If I have my education and I have things, it’s because the country offered me the opportunity. The country offers the opportunity, but if you don’t go get it, it’s not going to fall in your lap.

You’ve got to make an effort to learn, to go to school and work and you’ll be able to help other people. In terms of Haitians who are living here (in the US), I think they need to think about giving back to their country. We have people that are hungry, that are naked, that need to be clothed. There are a lot of things that we can do to help.

How can the Haitian people help themselves? Dr. Ridoré shares his perspective.

And I feel Haiti is one country, not just because I came from there, but it’s a country that needs to know about love. They need to know about sharing. They need to know about giving back. They need to know about loving the next person. You don’t always have to love just your family. But the fellow person that has no family, nobody to care for (them), we need to love them.

So I would tell them one thing they need to (do is) put the love of God in their heart, knowing that if they love, like the Bible said, then God could open doors for you. If we put ourselves in a position to help other people, then you know God can do the rest.

Dr. Ridoré has much compassion for our animal friends as well.

I think they need to be cared for, they need to be protected, and they need to be loved.

Thank you Dr. Ted Ridoré for bringing the gift of education to others and comforting the disadvantaged young ones in Haiti through the Help Me Too Foundation. May you continue providing learning opportunities to many more people and bringing joy to vulnerable Haitian children.

For more information on Dr. Ridoré’s work, please visit the following websites:
Cornerstone Christian University
Cornerstone University of Florida
Help Me Too Foundation
Lighthouse High School

Thank you valued viewers for your company on this edition of Good People, Good Works. May we always strive to do our utmost to serve our communities and world.

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