“Artists for Haiti” to Hold Charity Fundraiser

424056_10150595122362749_326931576_nIn 2011, the Penn State Project Haiti chapter approached Temple University to start an organization that would work to fund a new orphanage in Petite Riviere de Artibonite, Haiti.

Project Haiti Temple University was created and began holding movie nights, bake sales, and clothing drives to raise money for the Saint Francis Xavier Orphanage.

In 2012, Meredith McDevitt began the fundraiser “Artists for Haiti” in hopes that the Tyler community would come together to raise funds for the orphanage.

“I have always thought that one of the greatest ways to give back to those in need is to use your own personal talents in a collaborative effort,” McDevitt said. “This fundraiser enables the artists of Tyler to create or donate their work for charity.”

The primary goal of the organization is to provide food, shelter, education, and healthcare for the children in the orphanage.

“Haiti is still suffering from the repercussions of the earthquake and needs to develop a stable community,” McDevitt said. “Our group also focuses on making the Temple students personally aware of the economic disparity that exists between those living in the United States and those living in third world countries.”

Since then, the organization has seen great success and has even been able to travel to Haiti in the past.

“It’s so great to see fellow classmates come together to support this cause. We hoped that this art event would stimulate awareness throughout campus and communicate these social issues of extreme poverty.”

The group continues to grow and raise more money each year since it was founded.

“We hope to raise much more so that the orphanage can buy new land with better water,” McDevitt said. “Each year, parents are dropping off their children at the orphanage in hopes that [the owner] can take care of them. Children are found throughout the streets malnourished and alone. We don’t want to turn any child away from the necessities of life.”

“Artists for Haiti” is currently working on a silent auction that will be held in the lower atrium of the Student Center on February 6. They will be collecting art and holding a bake sale on January 26 in the Tyler lobby until 5 p.m.

“We will have many tables with a variety of artwork: glass blown pieces, paintings, drawings, ceramics, etc. The auction will operate more as a raffle. Each person can buy a sleeve of tickets and bid on the piece of their choice. At the end of the event, the tickets will be drawn and the person will claim their prize,” McDevitt said.

There will also be cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and vegan desserts for sale at the event.

After the fundraiser, the group will travel to Haiti during Spring Break. Each of the ten students will be traveling as an individual and not as a group funded by the university because Haiti is on the U.S. State Department Travel Warning list.

While in Haiti, the group hopes to build a study area for the children to improve their education. They will also be working with the children individually and building relationships with the people in Haiti.

“The kids are so great and welcoming,” McDevitt said. “Despite the language barrier, there is no hesitation to talk your ear off, play until sunset, and become their best friend by the end of the trip.”

McDevitt hopes that the members of Project Haiti will leave their trip with a better understanding of the culture of Haiti and those in need.

“It is like no other experience I have ever had and I can not wait to return to my friends in Haiti,” McDevitt said. “They live their lives for others and with such happy hearts. While in Petite Riviere de Artibonite, we learn each day about what we can offer them. In the end it seems that the Haitians gave us the greatest gift – a life changing experience that we can never forget.”

For more information on how to become a part of Project Haiti, contact tuproject.haiti@gmail.com
To learn more about the orphanage, visit http://www.sfxhaiti.org/

For the original story, visit http://tyler.temple.edu/blog/artists-haiti-hold-charity-fundraiser

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