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New Rochelle Students Lend A Helping Hand In Haiti

College of New Rochelle students Marie Gomez and Raisa Jadotte show off the bears they will give to Haitian children. Photo Credit: Zak Failla
College of New Rochelle students Marie Gomez and Raisa Jadotte make the final preparations before their trip. Photo Credit: Zak Failla

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – While their friends are fleeing south to warmer weather as spring break kicks off on Friday, more than a dozen College of New Rochelle  students will be heading to Haiti to help a nation ravaged by a deadly earthquake four years ago.

Just two months after the four-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake, the College of New Rochelle will send 14 students and four chaperones to Sassier, Haiti, where they will be instrumental in building and renovating a library.

On Thursday, Marie Gomez -- a junior nursing major who will be making her first mission trip – said that she was feeling a combination of anxiety and excitement a day before her plane was set to take her south to Haiti.

“This is just one way for us to give back to the world for all of the blessings we’ve been given,” she said. “I’m also interested in learning about a culture that is so different than our own.”

This will mark the second mission trip for junior Raisa Jadotte, a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, who is returning to her home country for the first time since she was 9 years old. During her senior year of high school, she helped build a church and educate students in Nicaragua.

“It’s important [for she and the volunteers] to stay open minded and to keep our eyes open,” she said. “You just have to be open to new experiences and cultures when you do something like this.”

The students volunteering on the trip will receive no academic credit, and had to personally raise funds to avoid paying out of pocket. Each of the students did individual campaigning both on and off campus. The volunteers also collected pink stuffed animals to Haitian children that were donated by the Heavenly Production Foundation.

Although their friends will be sunning on the beach, drinking mai tais, going to parties and sleeping in, Jadotte said that she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on anything by sacrificing her spring break to help cultivate one of the poorest countries in the world.

“We’re going to help, to give our service to help them build, this isn’t a leisure trip,” she said. “I don’t need to be sitting on a beach and partying, I’ll always have time for that.”

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