We thought it would be fun for our PLB supporters to meet some of our biggest PLB donors! We know you’ll find these “Getting to Know” blog posts uplifting, inspiring, and sometimes even downright funny.
Thank you Christine Haydinger for helping PLB facilitate numerous projects in Peru! Without your donations, we would not have been able to help as many children. If we all just picked our cause and did our part, we could literally change the world.
With love and gratitude,
The PLB Board Members
Getting to Know PLB Donor -Christine Haydinger
Where do you call home?
Home is Hopkinton NH, a town of 5,000 just outside of Concord.
How do you spend your time?
I spend my time working as a public defender, reading, and enjoying my three kids (Theo, 14, Kyanna 10, and Lucas, 6). I resigned my job effective September (add year) so I can volunteer several days a week in an elementary school two towns away where teachers are overwhelmed by large classes.
How long have you been involved with Project Left Behind?
I became involved with PLB when I signed up for the ESCAPE 2014 trip to Peru. I had taken Shel’s parenting class in 2010 when it was offered in NH. I stayed on her mailing list and checked in on her website, which is how I learned of the trip. I had traveled to Peru in 2001 and was excited to return. In 2001, it was my last solo adventure before becoming a parent. I had just submitted the completed paperwork for domestic adoption and five days after I returned from hiking the Inca Trail, I got “the call” about a baby just born in Texas. Three weeks later, he was mine. I got married two years later and my husband Tim and I adopted two other children in 2005 and 2008.
What is the one thing you would have to take with you on an island to survive?
One person who inspires you and why?
My friend Linda McDermott. We started our first jobs as lawyers together doing capital post-conviction work in Florida. We were representing death row inmates in their appeals after the state Supreme Court affirmed their convictions and sentences. I lasted less than four years in the job because I become too emotionally involved. Linda is still doing it (19 years later). She manages to separate the emotional from the intellectual in a way I cannot. She embodies the credo of Mother Jones: “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” I admire her stamina, intelligence, and commitment to fighting for the most maligned members of our society.
Favorite or funniest travel story?
I recently traveled to London with my oldest friend Noreen, who I met in first grade. We spent a day in Oxford visiting her nephew, who is studying there. That night we boarded our train to return to our hotel in London. We got on an almost empty train and, as very old friends often do, began talking. We continued talking and laughing and talking as the train stopped and people got off until the train stopped for the last time. We immediately knew we were not in London because it was completely dark outside and we realized suddenly that we were the last passengers. We got out and were a bit alarmed to discover that the station was empty. There was one taxi driver about to go off duty who agreed to drive us to London for 200 pounds. What?! He informed us that it was over an hour drive; we had traveled almost 50 miles to the outskirts of the suburbs. Between us, Noreen and I had traveled to almost 20 countries where English is not the primary language and we made this ridiculous mistake where all the signs are in English…all because we could not stop talking and laughing. Now that is another story for us to talk and laugh about together.
You support Project Left Behind because…
I was so moved by the experience of meeting Katja, Rita and Norbert, and Guido and Sandy on the trip to Peru. Katja especially captured my heart because she was alone when she left the life she had started in Switzerland and committed herself to helping children in Peru. After meeting her in Peru and touring the house she had built and the children she was helping, I was lucky enough to be in Zurich when she was there visiting her family and raising money to fund her orphanage. I asked her then why it was not enough for her to help disabled children in Switzerland; why did she feel the need to go to Peru? She said that she’s “so much more needed in Peru.” I recently heard David Brooks being interviewed on NPR for a program called Writers on a New England stage. He said, “Find your purpose where your deepest gladness meets the world’s deepest need.” All the people we met in Peru have realized that their “deepest gladness” is in helping others and they’ve found a place where they are deeply needed. I could not leave the experience behind, but I also cannot leave my life behind and follow their example. For now, the most I can do is offer financial support.
If you could choose to have dinner with anyone (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
Nelson Mandela. I want to know how he was able to survive after all he suffered. He said, “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Is leaving bitterness and hatred behind the same as forgiving?
Share with us something we would never guess about you if we didn’t know you well.
You would never guess that I was a pom-pom girl in high school! We were called the Cougarettes (school mascot was, of course, the Cougars). This was the early ‘80s and we wore short skirts and white vinyl go-go boots and performed with the marching band at halftime of the football games. Some junior high friends convinced me to try out with them and to my surprise I made it. For years, I cringed when my parents would show the pictures of me, but I am now old enough to laugh about it. I think it was Walt Whitman who said, “I am large, I contain multitudes.”