Students at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School have planned a fund-raiser tonight to help victims of the earthquake that struck Haiti a week ago.
Cape Cod Regional Technical High School juniors Jesula Charles and Joane Pierre were both born in Haiti and moved to the United States at the age of 6. Unfortunately, the two girls now have something more tragic in common. Both have beloved family members still living in Haiti and no way of knowing how they are faring in the aftermath of last week’s devastating earthquake.
Jesula has gotten word that one of her uncles died in the earthquake but the fate of other family members is still unknown.
“All my aunts and uncles live in Haiti. My mom hasn’t been able to get through,” she says.
Joane’s mother, who still lives in Haiti, has called once. Since then, communication has been broken.
“I’ve been trying to call her but I can’t get through,” Joane says. “She was OK, but our house is gone. You know how on TV everybody is just sleeping on the streets because there’s nowhere else, well that’s what she’s doing. And I don’t know if aid has come to her to give her food. I don’t know if she’s hungry. I keep calling but there’s no answer.”
Instead of giving in to their worry, the two girls have decided to do something to help by organizing a benefit at their school tonight. The idea was first hatched in a Contemporary World Cultures class when Jesula was talking to her friend Tiffany Thompson about how her uncle died and Joane’s mom was missing.
“We came up with this idea that we need to do something that can raise money and people can have fun at it,” Jesula says.
Their friends in the health tech and dental programs wanted to help and soon Alexis Peters, Stephanie Pereira, Grace Weeks and Joane’s sister Guerline Pierre joined in, going to area businesses to ask for donations for the raffles they have planned.
“The event is called Culture Shock and it’s all different cultures coming together to help one,” says Grace. “We’re going to have Haitian food, Brazilian food, Colombian food and American food.”
In addition to the raffle and food, there will also be a dance with two of Jesula’s cousins who are also from Haiti acting as disc jockeys, playing Haitian music in addition to salsa, reggae, jazz and hip-hop.
Spanish teacher Eileen Dillon and English teacher Dianna Morton have been helping the girls organize the benefit and will act as supervisors at the event.
Proceeds will be donated through the Boston-based Partners in Health, a medical organization that has been working in Haiti for more than 20 years. The students are also collecting items for care packages and ask that people bring toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, washcloths and new or gently used clothing and shoes to the benefit. Joane says these items will be dispersed through the missions committee at her church, the Church of the Nazarene in South Dennis.
“Haiti was already a poor country and to have an earthquake as big as it was hit them, I just think it’s really important that they get the help that they need,” Grace says. “I’m close to Jesula and Joane so it really hit home for me.”
“Basically we’re just trying to make a difference and we need any help possible,” Joane adds. “We’ll take anything.”
The Cape Codder
If you go
What: Culture Shock Benefit for Haiti
When: Friday, Jan. 22 5–10 p.m.
Where: Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, 351 Pleasant Lake Drive, (Route 124), Harwich
Donation: $10 at the door
Information: Eileen Dillon, firstname.lastname@example.org.