Pictured at the Feb. 3, 2016 Enfield Rotary Club meeting are (l-r), President Nick Deni, Asnuntuck staff member Julie Cotnoir, Rotarian Carol Bohnet, student Laurie Glybin, Rotarian Kathy Barron, students Jocelyn Thompson and Ruben Garcia, and Enfield Rotary Foundation Chair Ed Palomba.
Three of the 12 Asnuntuck Community College students who will be making a trip to Haiti in March addressed the Enfield Rotary Club on Feb. 3, 2016. 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.
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. Rotary 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 in 2015, the Enfield Rotary Club pledged to share part of the proceeds from a Dec. 5 pancake breakfast at the Enfield Senior Center. On top of being thrilled by the offer to support their trip, Asnuntuck students, faculty and administration members not only sold tickets and attended the breakfast, but also volunteered as servers and kitchen workers. The result was one of the Rotary Club’s best-attended pancake breakfasts ever and an excellent fund-raising outcome.
The Rotary Club’s Feb. 3 meeting provided the opportunity to present a check for $700 to the Asnuntuck contingent, their share of the pancake breakfast proceeds. In addition, Enfield Rotary President Nick Deni asked for and received the club’s approval to give the proceeds from a 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 response to hearing the Be Like Brit story and seeing the enthusiasm of the students who’ve been selected to go.
Besides providing monetary support, Rotarians will also be collecting items for the Be Like Brit Orphanage Wish List. 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: www.belikebrit.org
Anyone can collect and donate wish list items for the trip. You can give them to any Rotarian before Feb. 24 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: 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: www.z2systems.com
Following their trip, the Britsionaries will return to a Rotary meeting and give a report about their experiences.
For more information about the Rotary Club of Enfield, including a list of upcoming speakers, please visit www.enfieldctrotary.org
Visitors are always welcome to attend the club’s weekly meetings. Please feel free to contact club President Nick Deni for more information.