Enfield Rotary Supports Asnuntuck Students' March Trip to "Be Like Brit" Orphanage in Haiti

 
 
Three of the 12 Asnuntuck Community College students who will be making a trip to Haiti in March addressed the Enfield Rotary Club on February 3rd. They and their fellow travelers will be bringing supplies to the Be Like Brit Orphanage, as well as helping to build a new house for a family living nearby. The trip is being sponsored by Asnuntuck, but the "Britsionaries" are raising all of the funds needed for their international service project. Their visit provided the opportunity to present a check for $700 from our recent pancake breakfast to support their trip.
 
Pictured above are (l-r), club President Nick Deni, Asnuntuck staff member Julie Cotnoir, International Service Director Carol Bohnet, student Laurie Glybin, Rotarian Kathy Barron, students Jocelyn Thompson and Ruben Garcia, and Rotary Foundation Chair Ed Palomba.
 
When Enfield Rotarians learned about Asnuntuck's Be Like Brit project last year, the connections with Rotary's "Service Above Self" culture and traditions of helping people around the globe were obvious. Our members were also moved by the story behind the orphanage, which was built in memory of American student Britney Gengel, who lost her life in the January 2010 earthquake that devastated the island. One of the last messages she texted her parents included a wish to start an orphanage. Her parents followed through on her wish and the Be Like Brit Orphanage opened in 2013. Today it is home to 33 girls and 33 boys.

Following the first presentation about the Be Like Brit project, the Enfield Rotary Club pledged to share part of the proceeds from our December 5th pancake breakfast at the Enfield Senior Center. On top of being thrilled by our offer to support their trip, Asnuntuck students, faculty and administration members not only sold tickets and attended the breakfast, but they also volunteered to help as servers and kitchen workers. The result was one of the best-attended pancake breakfasts ever and an excellent fund-raising outcome.

This week's meeting gave us the opportunity to present a check for $700 to the Asnuntuck contingent, their share of the pancake breakfast proceeds. On top of that, President Nick Deni asked for and received the club's approval to give the proceeds from our upcoming Super Bowl fundraiser—$250—to the Be Like Brit project. Since that brought the total to $950, Rotarian Jerry Bell added $50 to make it $1,000. Then Milt Rosenberg added $100 more in honor of a fellow Rotarian celebrating both a birthday and club anniversary, but primarily in response to hearing the Be Like Brit story and seeing the enthusiasm of the students who've been selected to go.

 
In addition to providing monetary support, Rotarians will also be collecting items for the Be Like Brit Orphanage Wish List and bringing them to the rest of our meetings in February. These items will be carried in the baggage of the Asnuntuck students and their faculty advisors. You can find out more about the orphanage and the items on the wish list by visiting:
 
https://belikebrit.org
 
Everyone is more than welcome to collect and donate wish list items for the trip. You can give them to any Rotarian in before February 24th or bring them directly to Asnuntuck Community College.
 
You can watch a 30-minute program produced by Asnuntuck that aired on Cox Communications Public Access Channel 15 by going to:
 
http://www.patv15.com/
 
Select Enfield in the top menu, then click on "Enfield Program Schedule." In the Show Search box, type Asnuntuck and press Go. Select Show ID #1375 "Asnuntuck: Changing Lives "Be Like Brit."
 
Donations to support the Asnuntuck trip can be made online at:
 
https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/belikebrit/campaign.jsp?campaign=8&fundraiser=46711&team=389&
 
Following their trip, the Britsionaries will return to a Rotary meeting to tell us all about their experiences. God speed!