Sandra E. Chai, M.D.Founder/President
Dr. Sandra (“Sandy”) Chai first became exposed to mission work in Haiti in 1998, when her church embarked on a long-term partnering relationship with the Episcopal Church on the island of La Gonâve.
From 2000-2005, she served as the coordinator for the La Gonâve Haiti Partnership (www.lagonavepartners.org), a group of approximately 20 American Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Anglican churches who network together as they all partner with the various churches, schools and programs of the large Episcopal ministry on the island.
It was through this experience that Sandy came to appreciate the broad scope of influence of the local church in Haiti. The Episcopal church impacts all aspects of the life of the community, serving the people not only spiritually but also through education, medical care, a children’s nutrition program, water projects, agricultural programs including goat husbandry, and vocational training such as computer instruction and a women’s vocational program.
It was this last program, Pwoje Fanm (meaning “Women’s Projects,” in Haitian Creole), that captured the imagination of a mission team of creative women, including Sandy, in the spring of 2003.
Having seen the fruit of the Haitians’ hard work and perseverance in many other programs, these women decided that the time seemed right to embark on what Sandy refers to as “economic ministry,” in an effort to address one of the poverty-stricken nation’s greatest challenges: its unemployment rate of 40%.
Hence, they banded together in 2003 to found Beatitudes, Inc., for the purpose of partnering with Pwoje Fanm, but also with eyes open to other opportunities that God may provide to help people to break the cycle of poverty.
Sandy received her B.S. in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma in 1984 and her M.D. from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1988. She attended the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for her residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care medicine from 1988-94.
She practiced pulmonary medicine full time for several years, but since 1999, she has worked part time for Infectious Disease Resource Group in Little Rock, AR.
This has afforded her the time and opportunity to focus on her passions: raising her family and serving God through mission work in Haiti.
In her rare moments of spare time, she enjoys metal smithing, sewing, running, and gardening.
Melody Mattson has a degree in Accounting from Louisiana Tech University. She is a stay-at-home mom and home school teacher. She enjoys reading, baking, stringing beads and watching college football with her husband, Greg. She has also been learning by missteps how to grow an organic garden. Beatitudes is blessed to have her to keep us balanced in all kinds of ways!
Kristen GarnerBoard member
Kristen brings her eclectic mix of creativity, humor, and legal insight to the board. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law, she is a multi-generational native of Central Arkansas. Kristen is a mother to two teenage boys and a dog. She has taken on home renovations fearlessly, including tiling her bathrooms. She is lover of books and her Nook, and she describes her job as “getting paid to boss people around and mind their business.” Kristen believes that a color-coordinated life is, by definition, a better life.
Art in various forms was always encouraged and nurtured in Robin’s childhood. That is extended now as she encourages others in their creativity. Robin’s passion for missions began in high school with a desire to share the Gospel through art. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in Writing. Robin has always been active not only in the church but in the community as well, volunteering with the National Kidney Foundation throughout college. She’s lead several Bible studies and support groups in various churches around central Arkansas. Robin believes that everyone has a story and that story deserves to be heard. She stands by the conviction that God is the greatest artist and that we are His artwork.