Riverside School’s ‘Holidays for Haiti’ Event Makes a Difference for Vulnerable Children, Including Many Orphans

Riverside School recently held its annual school-wide community service event, “Holidays for Haiti”. Riverside students, parents and faculty came together to spread holiday cheer to an impoverished
community in Haiti by providing gifts and personalized cards for students at Danita’s Children.

Rose Fine and Whitney Marder. Contributed photo
Andre Donke and Emanise Dorsaint, former Danita’s School children, are both currently enrolled in college in the U.S. Contributed photo

For the past four years, the Riverside School Community has been supporting Holidays for Haiti and with virtual participation during the pandemic. This year, the Riverside community enthusiastically embraced the in-person event.

Donke Andre, a young man from Haiti, was at the event to speak to the school community about Haiti, his village and school and how much the event means to them.

“Holidays for Haiti has been such an amazing blessing for the children in Haiti. It’s hard to describe the joy on their faces when they receive their gifts. This is something they have never experienced before Riverside School chose to be so generous,” Andre said.

Angela Kilcullen, chair and organizer of the Holidays for Haiti Event, Riverside parent. Contributed photo
Callum Bashum student at Riverside with a hand written card. Contributed photo

“It is no exaggeration to say that it is one of their favorite days of the year. Without the generosity of Riverside School, most of these children would not receive a gift during the holidays,” Andre added. “And yes, while they do love the gift, what’s even greater is it just tells them that somebody is thinking about them and cares for them, especially in the midst of such difficult times. On behalf of everyone at Danita’s Children, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Danita’s School educates over 300 students in grades K-13 in Ounaminthe, Haiti. Around 70 of the students are orphans who live on campus, with another 250 children living in neighboring villages. Danita’s School was chosen because a few families from the Riverside area volunteer at the orphanage and witnessed how apparent the need was there.

Co-President of the PTA at Riverside School, Clare Johnson and her sons Jack and Max Johnson.
The card drop station at Riverside School. Contributed photo
Riverside School gymnasium set up for the Holidays for Haiti event. Contributed photo
Grace Snedeker, Riverside student. Contributed photo