Donation for Haiti Is Highlight of AHA Thanksgiving Service

Just before Thanksgiving, student leaders from the Academy of the Holy Angels’ Solidarity with Haiti organization donated $1,500 to the School Sisters of Notre Dame’s Haiti Fund. The presentation of the check was part of the Thanksgiving Prayer Service, which was led by Solidarity with Haiti members President Sophia Chounoune, Vice President Beatrice Gee, Secretary Lily Gee, Treasurer Stephanie Chan, and Junior Vice President Natalie Tabbone.

The school community cheered as Chounoune explained how this month’s Jeans Pass and Sno Cones for Haiti fundraisers had made this donation possible. She described AHA as part of a global community that supports human dignity just before she presented the check to the SSND Haiti Committee co-chair and SSND Associate Kathleen Sylvester.

“I can’t thank you enough,” said Sylvester, who retired as AHA’s director of campus ministry in June of 2023. “You’re making a huge difference.”

Sylvester noted that support from AHA helps families in Haiti to be able to send their children to school and save hours each day, since rainwater catchment systems negate the need to search for potable water. She reported that, when the School Sisters started working on Lagonav Island in 2016, they were active in three local communities. Today, they assist 79 communities. Although there has been unrest in Haiti, Sylvester said there is hope in Lagonav. Because Lagonav is an island, she observed, this part of Haiti is isolated from the violence that has been occurring.

Sylvester previously noted that all of the funds from Solidarity for Haiti’s events go directly to help the people of Haiti thanks to Beyond Borders’ partnership with the School Sisters.

During the service, Solidarity with Haiti showed a brief video about a Haitian woman who had benefitted from the Family Graduation Program run by Beyond Borders. This 18-month program allows people who are living in poverty to learn to build their own houses, start and maintain vegetable gardens, care for donated livestock, manage their money, and receive rainwater tanks. Beyond Borders also works to end child slavery, prevents violence against women and girls, strives for a more equitable balance of power between women and men, and ensures that children receive a quality education.

Principal Jean Miller noted that the $1,500 contribution would go fairly far in Haiti.

“All of it adds up,” Miller said. “I wish you could see what I see when I look at this community,” she added, commenting on the good works the students accomplish and the kindness she sees. “I’ve never seen a group of people try so hard in everything they do…Thank you. I’m so grateful to be a part of this community.”

Solidarity with Haiti is a Holy Angels-based organization established by Janella Osbourne (AHA ’22).

The group’s next fundraiser will be Hoodies for Haiti. This event, which is similar to a Jeans Pass, will allow students to make a donation to Solidarity with Haiti for the privilege of wearing a hoodie to school on December 7.

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