The right ‘choice’ for Haiti schoolchildren
Renee Ruffing (left), and Jennifer Ruehl, both of Wilmette, with art made by the children of L’Ecole de Choix in Haiti. | Lee A. Litas~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 8, 2012 3:39PM
The Event: DePaul University professor Laura Pincus Hartman may have felt like a tiny, overlooked “Who” from Horton Hears a Who while building L’Ecole de Choix (School of Choice) in Haiti, but on Oct. 20, along with 300 local supporters, Hartman celebrated the successful completion of Choix’s first academic year with “A Virtual Visit to Choix” at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago.
Founded in October 2011, Choix educates more than 180 children in six grades; from pre-K through fourth. Its mission is to provide a trilingual quality education with a focus on leadership development and communication skills to children living in the deepest conditions of poverty in Haiti.
Cause célèbre: Asked why people should care about educating children outside their borders when there is plenty of need right here, Hartman noted that Haitians are a group of people who are seeking partners, not charity. “And I want my money to go to people who bring a lot to the table, and these people do,” she said.
One dollar feeds one child for an entire day in Haiti. One dollar can also buy curriculum for that child. “So it’s the one-to-one difference that means something,” said Hartman.
That ratio was mirrored by Hartman’s brother, Mark Pincus, who vowed to match all donations made at the benefit.
“For so few dollars you can make such an impact on so many people’s lives and really change the direction of the country,” said volunteer David Sherman.
In attendance were also Haitian Olympian Samyr Laine and Chicago comedian Aaron Freeman, who served as the evening’s emcee.
“There are many wonderful things in the world; L’Ecole de Choix is one of the coolest. It does a miraculous thing of giving an absolutely quality education to kids,” said Freeman.
The Bottom Line: The event raised in excess of $115,000 for L’Ecole de Choix. See: ecoledechoix.org.