On August 22, Hope and Change for Haiti held its first gala fundraiser event, “Engage for Change,” at the Imperial Room in Cranston. It was an event that sold out in just two months’ time, and was designed to celebrate the achievements of the organization as well as to recognize several outstanding supporters. Additionally, the funds raised that evening would be used towards the construction of a house in Haiti.
Hope and Change for Haiti is a group of Haitian/American professionals who are concerned about the condition of life of the Haitian community and in Haiti. The organization works to contribute to the effort of rebuilding the country and facilitate the recovery of the people from natural disasters, and to improve the quality of life of the Haitian community.
They have partnered with the people in the community of Paillant to develop sustainable projects to improve life and to help the population recover from natural disasters, including building family housing that are anti-earthquake and hurricane resistant, creating access to clean water by building a 15,000 gallon cistern per household to help catch rainwater, providing sponsorship to children to go to school, identifying and training local leaders to strengthen the community, empowering women and empowering the growth of the local economy through agricultural and livestock projects.
Cranston’s Dr. Norly Germain, the executive director of Hope and Change for Haiti, gave the opening welcome remarks, while his wife, board member and assistant director, Aniece Germain, emceed the event.
Speakers at the formal gala event included the Reverend Andrea Castner-Wyatt of St. David’s on-the-Hill Episcopal Church, who delivered the invocation, Dr. Hume Johnson, Brand Strategist, professor of public relations at Roger Williams University and founder of Brand You Global Academy, State Representative Robert Lancia, District 16, Cranston, State Senator Sandra Cano, District eight, Pawtucket, U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin, US Congressman David Cicilline, representatives from both Governor Raimondo’s office and Senator Jack Reed’s office, Councilwoman Nirva Rebecca Lafortune, Ward 3 Providence and manager and advisor of the Presidential Scholars program, Dr. Hilary Levey Friedman, President of Rhode Island National Organization for Women and Assistant Professor of Education at Brown University, Seth Magaziner, RI General Treasurer, and Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, State Representative, District 6, Providence.
Also present was Aaron Regunberg, supporter of Hope and Change for Haiti and a candidate for Lt. Gov.
Honored for their support at the event were Gail R. Faris, Kingian Nonviolence trainer at the University of Rhode Island, Bishop Joseph F. Simon, senior pastor at Elmwood Avenue Church of God, and Cynthia P. Sparkes, parishioner, St. David’s on-the-hill Episcopal Church. All sponsors and supporters of the event were also recognized including sponsor Banneker Industries.
As Dr. Germain spoke to the group, he emphasized the impact that can be made when many come together, as has been the case for Hope and Change for Haiti. The evening’s speakers echoed his sentiments as they shared their thoughts and experiences. Dr. Germain encouraged the guests to continue their support and to “be the change you want to see.”
For more information about Hope and Change for Haiti, visit their website hncforhaiti.org.