Rollins' Heart Goes Out for Haiti

February 11, 2010

On Saturday, Feb. 6 Rollins Helping Haiti, a student-led initiative developed in response to the recent disaster in Haiti, hosted Our Hearts for Haiti Benefit Festival on Mary Jean Plaza.

The event featured activities such as a human art show preview from Chance for Change, a chance drawing, and silent auction. Prizes included a coveted senior parking decal that sold for $100. Plants and artwork donated by local partners were among some of the items sold at a sidewalk market also held at the festival. Assistant Professor of Anthropology Ashley Kistler and her Foundations of Caribbean Culture and Society class contributed to the efforts by sponsoring a beach volleyball game and multiple silent auction prizes.

Change This World, Inc. the nonprofit branch of Stuph Clothes, set up tables where the organization engaged attendees to put together relief packages that were to be shipped off to Haiti that very night. Each package contained a mixture of rice, soy, dried vegetables, and a variety of vitamins and minerals; a combination said to reverse malnutrition. 5,000 packages were assembled, and given that each package feeds six people, 35,000 people were fed that following Sunday.

The festival showcased live musical performances by local musician Matt Shenk, student Maia Ryan (Class of 2010) and her Shoeless Jesters (Billy Yates (Class of 2012), Rob Moore (Class of 2010), and James Powell Jr. (Class of 2011), and Evan Taylor Jones and the Martian Flood Band. Jones and Martian Flood previously performed at Rollins during last month’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. Their soft, soulful tunes carried into the night, providing listeners with a taste of the tropics.

"I had the opportunity to travel to Port-au-Prince in the summer of 2008 and work with children and families in a local orphanage. During this experience I saw firsthand extreme poverty, and lack of resources and infrastructure. I also experienced human resiliency and witnessed compassion and support that Haitians have for one other,” said student Katie Powell (Class of 2012). “As students of Rollins we have a responsibility to get involved in fundraising, education, research, and advocacy work in our global community not just today, but for the rest of our lives."

All proceeds from this event will go to Partners in Health, a non-profit that has been working on the ground in Haiti for over 20 years.

Over a hundred students, faculty, staff and members of the Winter Park community came out to show their support. In total the event raised over $4,200. Fundraising, advocacy and education will continue throughout the year.

If you are interested in learning more about these efforts, please visit

-Anna Montoya (Class of 2013)

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