Becker “Wonder Women” take service trip to Haiti
Published on: April 17, 2019
A group of 17 Becker College students, faculty and staff — all women — recently returned from a service trip to Haiti where they volunteered at the Be Like Brit Foundation’s home for children, Brit’s Home, and helped to build a house for a family in need.
“It was such an amazing opportunity to help build a house for a family and also play with the kids at the orphanage,” said Becker College student Vanessa Serra. “They are the most selfless, happy kids I have ever met and I’m glad I got to go on this journey.”
Becker College has been involved with Be Like Brit since its beginning, nine years ago. The organization’s co-founder, Len Gengel attended Becker College. Brit’s Home was set up in honor of his daughter, Britney Gengel, who was killed in an earthquake in January 2010 while volunteering in Haiti.
Every year, Debra Pallatto-Fontaine, Executive Director for Global Initiatives and the Yunus Social Business Centre @ Becker College, leads a group to Haiti. This year’s group dubbed themselves “Team Wonder Women.” They included Jaelyn Araujo, Molly Priestly, Vanessa Serra, Mai Ly, Jennifer Kindl, Morgan Gould, Desiree Oquendo, ThuyDieu Truong, Faith Whitney, Janine Fernette, Jessica Wu, Alissa Quaratiello, Adrianna Lake, Psychology Professor Stephanie Sawyer, Career Education and Advising Assistant Director Lauren Canale and Registrar Heather Pecoraro.
As part of their time in Haiti, the group helped build a home for someone in need. Members of the Be Like Brit staff were there to assist them.
“This year, we built a home for a single father and his two young children,” Pallatto-Fontaine said. “This is the first time they won’t be living under a tarp. This is the first time the family has a sturdy shelter where they can safely keep their possessions.”
The Becker group also bought supplies for the new home including a table and chairs, a supply of rice and beans, and a goat.
In addition to the home building project, the Becker College students, faculty and staff spent time with the children at Brit’s Home, and were able to explore the area.
“We went on field trips,” Pallatto-Fontaine said. “We took them to the market place, to the fishing village and to a voodoo temple.”
The “Wonder Women,” many of whom are nursing students, also visited the local hospital.
“Baby supplies were donated by the Student Nurses’ Association at Becker,” Pallatto-Fontaine said. “So we were able to hand them out to new mothers in the maternity ward.”
As Pallatto-Fontaine noted, those who took part in the service trip said the experience had a big impact on them.
“Students who come to Haiti always say that the trip was life-changing for them,” Pallatto-Fontaine said. “For most, it is the first time they have witnessed extreme poverty and the lessons learned will serve them well as global citizens.”
Here is a video from this year’s service trip to Haiti.