Born in Port Au Prince Haiti, Joel Bastien is the youngest of seven children. He emigrated to the United States in December of 1981 to pursue educational opportunities. Impelled by a profound desire to aid in the improvement and reformation of Haiti’s health care system, he received a B.S. in Health Care Administration from St. Joseph College in 1998, and a B.S. in Radiological Science and Medical Imaging from New York City Technical College in 1995. For over 15 years, he has worked as an ARRT-registered radiologic technologist, a certified orthopedic technologist, and clinical assistant conducting diagnostic imaging procedures for Beth Israel Medical Center. He invented the Airvator4Arm, an armrest uniquely designed to allow a patient to maintain a natural hand/wrist resting position, which reduces the chance of edema. Bastien currently works with world-renowned hand surgeon Charles P. Melone, Jr., M.D. and other distinguished upper extremity surgeons at the Beth Israel Hand Surgery Center.
Joel Bastien first visited the Theophile Church in 1981. It wasn’t long before he became deeply involved in outreach services to the local and international community. He expanded the Outreach Center’s food and clothing distribution program. In 2000, he was appointed as director of the Theophile Outreach Center. He spearheaded the development of college counseling, and computer lab programs.
On January 12, 2010, Haiti was hit by a catastrophic 7.0 MMS (Moment Magnitude Scale) earthquake, killing 316,000, injuring 300,000, and making 1,000,000 people homeless. The whole world responded and attempted to help. Bastien travelled to Haiti for five days. He worked in earthquake-damaged communities, where he traveled as part of a volunteer medical team. He then decided that he could do more to aid people in his homeland. Later that year, he started an annual trip to Haiti for parishioners to aid displaced and struggling families, which continues today.
He took on the responsibility of helping those who could not receive care in Haiti due to poor working conditions, and assisted in facilitating the acquisition of humanitarian visas to the U.S. and other countries to aid individuals who had been badly hurt. His mission became his passion and need: to help those who were badly hurt or displaced following the earthquake and to aid the underserved people in communities, both locally and abroad. There was a diaspora of Haitians from Haiti, and many journeyed to New York City to try to start their lives over again. Bastien aided many with work and housing possibilities through his network of Brooklyn contacts. He secured medical visas for life-saving surgeries. The surgeries came through Bastien’s collaboration with Dr. Rick Garvey (Board Certified Plastic Surgeon) and Dr. Charles Melone, MD, a world-renowned hand surgeon. The Theophile Outreach Center also received donations from the Andlinger Family, who help sponsor room and board and financial assistance to.
Joel Bastien’s guiding principles are simple and clear. He observes: “It is easy for me, because we are all God’s children and will at some point need help. Our God-given abilities are to seek out and help each other. My vision and mission is to continue to make a difference in the lives of others each day and to leave the rest up too our Creator. We can't solve the world’s problems and injustices, but what we can do is shine the light of compassion on others, always.”
With a mission towards providing valuable outreach services and comprehensive programming to both the local community and communities abroad, the Outreach Center is committed to the ideals of Christian service, charity and brotherhood.
Rev. Richner Erisnor
Rev. Joseph Voltaire
Joseph Voltaire was born in Camperan, Haiti, the fourth of seven children. His passion for helping others was fed by his personal experience of poverty and social inequity that was, and is, so prevalent in his homeland. Voltaire was educated in Haiti, but traveled to the United States, settling with his family in Brooklyn in 1981. He pursued a career in theology, and received his pastoral degree from the Manhattan Bible Institute in 1998.
He became the Senior Pastor/adviser of the Theophile Church and Community Center in 2002. His vision was to serve the world community on every level, from financial and educational assistance, to social and spiritual counseling. Pastor Voltaire reaches out to the lost and forgotten people, both locally and abroad, embodying the ideals of Christian service, charity and brotherhood. With tremendous energy and resolve, he lives these ideals each day, and inspires those around him to reach for the same goals.
His ongoing mission is multi-faceted: community food and clothing drives and distribution, youth counseling, volunteer missions to Haiti following 2010 disaster, providing shelter to the homeless, food to the hungry, and counseling to victims of domestic abuse. He is particularly focused on providing safe havens for children though ongoing programs such as the computer lab and Bible studies, and planned programs in music, art, after-school tutoring and higher education assistance.
Joseph Voltaire’s unceasing efforts have garnered awards and accolades from a variety of sources. On January 4, 2010, he received congressional honors from the United States House of Representative for Community Leadership in Brooklyn. He was awarded Certificate of Resilience initiative by Dr. Joseph Merlino, MD, the Deputy Executive Director of Behavior Health, at Kings’ County Hospital. In 2012, he received the Certificate of Outstanding Dedication/Service by the Haitian Community/Miracle Band, headquartered in Brooklyn, for his work following the earthquake. In October of 2010, he was awarded a certificate by the World Church Services for his work, dedication and support in the Haitian refugee community.
A naturalized citizen of the United States, Joseph Voltaire’s life and work are infused with a dynamic spirit of hope and possibility. He believes that miracles, both great and small, can happen every day. He moves forward, with prayer and hard work, to bring possibilities to life, with a smile and a deep wellspring of faith
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