May 19th: Barber-Scotia comes to Richmond. Join us!
Today marks three and a half months since the tragic earthquake hit Haiti, a natural disaster which killed hundreds of thousands and destroyed practically every bit of little infrastructure this Caribbean island once possesssed. The deadly quake killed thousands of university students and professors as well. Nearly all of Haiti’s universities were reduced to piles of rubble. Just today, former President Bill Clinton (now a U.N. special envoy to Haiti) described higher education as a “top priority” in Haiti’s rebuilding process. However, most experts estimate it will be many years until Haiti’s universities are up and running again. Haiti is currently facing a leadership void and without a educated and responsible “next generation of leaders,” the country will face even greater crises in the days to come.
Upon my return this winter from Haiti, where I had the chance to witnessed the catastrophe of January 12, 2010, I have remained in daily contact with numerous Haitian friends. Six of those friends are displaced Haitian university students who were in Port-au-Prince when the quake hit, but are now back with their families in Hinche. Over the past three months I have worked to find an American university which would accept these students, so they can have a chance to continue their studies before returning to Haiti as leaders in the recovery process. See last month’s Richmond Times-Dispatch article on this subject – posted at bottom right column.
Many of you have are aware that these students have each received scholarships to study at Barber-Scotia College in Concord, NC, beginning next fall. Barber-Scotia is a small, historically black, Christian institution located just outside of Charlotte. Our goal is for these students to arrive by mid-August. Many components of this project are still in progress (obtaining visas, fundraising for room/board and other expenses, arranging for airfare, etc.)
On Wednesday May 19, at 6pm, I will join Dr. David Olah (President of Barber-Scotia College) for a presentation of our project to the Richmond community. We welcome and hope that you can come to this free, informal, informational event/“get-to-know-us” gathering. The location is St. Bridget’s Church at 6006 Three Chopt Road, Richmond, VA 23226.
Currently, St. Bridget’s Catholic Church Haiti Committee is acting as the collector of funds for this project. Many of you have already donated and we thank you for that. We are also well cognizant of the “Haiti fatigue” which you may be experiencing – after being “hit-up” numerous times already for various Haiti-related charities. If this does not apply to you, we encourage you to consider making a contribution (info at right). For others of you are experiencing the “Haiti fatigue,” we are still asking for any help you can provide – whether through volunteering or giving of a tangible gift (donation of school supplies, clothing, gently used bicycles and laptops, etc.)
Finally, I want to sincerely thank each of you again for your time and generosity. If you haven’t already, please check out our website and join our Facebook page CLICK HERE
Thank you again and see you on May 19!