November 7, 2017 (New York). The Center of Hope (Haiti), Inc. held its 12th Annual Gala Celebration at the Tent At Bryant Park Grill. The theme of the evening was the dedication of the second classroom building of a new elementary and secondary school. The new building is the second of four buildings comprising the school and will be home to the 7-9 grades. Julie Atkinson, the Executive Director, stated that the new building was a continuation of a partnership of COHH and the Building Goodness Foundation of Charlottesville, VA.
Emmanuel St. Juste, the COHH Chairman of the Board, and Mark Newton, the COHH President, both provided updates on the ongoing operations of COHH in Hinche, Haiti. They also thanked the COHH donors for their support with the cost of the school. Mark Newton asked the audience to become a “donor” and an “ambassador” for COHH, particularly at this critical time where fundraising is a perquisite to the successful completion of the school.
Julie Atkinson presented the COHH Hope Award several of the COHH donors in recognition and honor of their ongoing support of COHH. The 2017 recipients of the Hope Award were Rev. Dr. Robert Guffey, Jr., Flora Schnall, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Joseph & Teresa Roseborough, Paul Cellupica, Robelin & Adeline Juleau, Matthew & Beth Ricciardi, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, LLP and Alan Robin.
Julie told the audience that the new building was dedicated in honor and memory of Marie Cham Baro, the first teacher at COHH. The formal dedication took place on October 7, 2017 in Hinche, Haiti. Ms. Baro’s husband, children and father were on hand for the ceremony.
After the presentation of the Hope Awards and Dedication, Bob Micera, a COHH director and Linda Alto, a COHH donor, shared with the audience some of their impressions on their recent visit to the COHH site for the dedication. Michael Annello, the Building Goodness Foundation Construction Manager that oversaw the construction of the new building also shared his experience during the course of construction. It was noted that the community benefitted from the job training and impact of jobs as a result of the construction.
Julie then introduced a new COHH entitled, “Nurturing The Thinkers of Tomorrow’s Haiti” produced by Johnny Boston, Paul Dolzall and Christine Fulton of Raw Media Network, who were recognized for their work on the project. The video can be seen at right on YouTube.
James Lipscomb closed the evening. He extended a special thank you to the select donors who collectively gave $100,000 to help build the second building and the husband and wife team that matched the donation. He congratulated the Hope Award recipients and thanked them for their support over the years. He thanked Julie Atkinson, the Executive Director, for her outstanding leadership of COHH and her willingness to serve without compensation. He also thanked her husband and family. He offered a reminder to the audience that they are needed as ambassadors for COHH to encourage friends and family to support the mission of COHH and the children. He then told the audience, “if you open your heart and your mind as you open your eyes, you will see the light of the world.”