Students, faculty and staff gathered on the Worcester campus Friday for a nondenominational prayer service for the people of Haiti. The service was led by Becker Professor Debra Pallatto-Fontaine, a minister ordained by the United Church of Christ. Dr. Pallatto-Fontaine called upon everyone, “as individuals, and as a college community, in an act of solidarity,” to “support the weak and help the suffering.”
Several students have created a new student group, Hearts for Haiti, and they are organizing relief activities, including an on campus fundraiser. Donations will be accepted and recognized by posting a paper “water bottle” on the wall in prominent locations on both campuses. Proceeds will be donated to Save the Children – Haiti.
Some of those gathered at the service stepped up to the microphone to share their stories.
“My mother was in Haiti for a funeral. When the earthquake hit, it was overwhelming for my father and me. We had no contact with my mom for three days, then we found out she was okay. Thanks to all of the people who posted on facebook for keeping my hopes up and giving me strength.”
Flemmings Beaubrun, junior
“The people of Haiti can find hope in a grain of sand. I spent ten days there in 2003, and every day the women I met on my path would smile and recognize me. By the last day, they were calling me ‘sister.’ I had more of a culture shock when I returned home and remembered that we don’t do that here.”
Betsy Fuller, dean of academic affairs
“My cousin and my grandmother were missing. Insomnia set in among our family. Thankfully my grandmother survived; we saw her on CNN. For my cousin there will be no search teams. We must offer prayers, faith and unity that Haiti may reach its former glory as the pearl of the Caribbean.”
Ronald Dorleans, freshman
Freshman Dean O’Coin took to the podium to remember Brittany Gengel, his friend’s sister, who, despite search efforts, is still among a group of missing students and faculty that were on a service trip from Lynn University in Florida. Brittany is the daughter of Becker College graduate Leonard Gengel.