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Howard University > News Room
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Media Contact:
Ron Harris
Director of Communications
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rjharris@howard.edu
 

Students Weather Rain to Raise $32K to Help Others in U.S. and Haiti

WASHINGTON (Mach 7) -- Despite the downpour, scores of Howard University students, many of them soaked from the rain, took to the streets for 12 hours Sunday to raise money so they can help people in Haiti and in five U.S. cities during their spring break.

The WHUR 96.3 Helping Hands radiothon, an annual fundraising event to help send hundreds of students across the country to help residents in troubled neighborhoods across the globe, raised $32,000. The effort is part of Howard's yearly Alternative Spring Break (ASB).

Instead of heading to the beach or the nation's famous spring break party spots, more than 350 Howard students will be working in Haiti, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. March 13 to March 19.

They will be teaching English, tutoring elementary school students, working on environmental reclamation projects, collecting books to fill a public school library, battling illiteracy and fighting gun violence and working with Haitian residents still reeling from the January 2006 hurricane that left tens of thousands homeless.

Kiamsha Tate, 9, and her mother, Lauren Tate, a teacher at Watkins Elementary School in Washington, stopped by WHUR to donate to ASB after they heard about the fundraiser on the radio while coming home from church.

Kaimsha donated nearly all of her $4 allowance.

"I want them to have fun and learn new stuff and help people," she said after handing over her $3.

Maegan Samuel, 19, was one of scores of Howard University students who took to the rain-soaked streets for 12 hours Sunday to raise money so they can help people in Haiti and in five U.S. cities during their spring break.  More than 350 Howard students will be working in Haiti, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and Washington, D.C., March 13 to March 19. on a variety of service projects.  Meagan will be in Washington tutoring and helping collect books for a struggling public school library. (Justin D. Knight)
Despite Sunday’s downpour, scores of Howard University students took to the streets for 12 hours Sunday to raise money so they can help people in Haiti and in five U.S. cities during their spring break.  More than 350 Howard students will be working in Haiti, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and Washington, D.C., March 13 to March 19. On a variety of service projects. (Justin D. Knight)

 Her mother, who graduated in psychology from Howard in 1991, said she heard about the program from one of her babysitters who had participated in it.

"I wish they had something like this when I was at Howard," Tate said. "I think it's a wonderful thing for them to be able to grow and share their knowledge and skills with other people who need them."

Out on the streets outside of the station along Georgia Avenue, Brittany Stevenson, 21, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Ricardo Noel, 26, of Queens, N.Y., were among the dozens of rain-soaked students dressed in plastic parkas collecting money from passing motorists as part of the "Bucket Brigade."

Stevenson, who worked against gun violence in Chicago as part of ASB last year, is going to Atlanta this year, where she and about 100 students will be preparing elementary school students for upcoming state achievement tests.

"I like doing community service," Stevenson said, "and after working in Chicago, I can see how much our help is needed,"

Howard students will be working for the second year at Hope Hill Elementary near downtown Atlanta. The school's administration reported that the student's test scores jumped dramatically last year following the Howard students' visit.

Noel, an English and Elementary Education major, will be returning "home" to help in Haiti.

"I was born in New York, but 90 percent of my family lives in Haiti," he said. "I was down in May helping my cousin teach English for annual project he does in a city called Croix de Bouquet."

About 25 students will be working in communities in and around Port au Prince, the nation's capital, and L'artibonite. They teach and help at an orphanage and at the Haitian American Caucus School Compound. They will also be working with KOFAVIV, an organization that is helping the hundreds of women who have been sexually victimized after being dislocated by the hurricane.

WHUR forgoes thousands of dollars to put on the radiothon, which it has been conducting since 2005 when some 500 students went to New Orleans to help after Hurricane Katrina.

"We do it because it's the right thing to do," said Renee Nash, director of News and Public Affairs at WHUR and one of the staff who put together the radiothon. "You have students who sacrifice their spring break and roll up their sleeves to affect change. As a radio station that cares about the community, we have to do more than talk about it. This is our way to be part of that solution."

Also helping is Sun Trust Bank, whose representatives man the telephones for call-in donations and tabulate the funds once they come in. Sun Trust has been part of the radiothon since its inception.

"This is one of the contributions that we make to the community," said AC Cheeseboro, Sun Trust assistant vice president and chair of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Diversity. "It is our responsibility to be part of the community, and being part of the community means we have to help one another."

To donate, visit www.whur.com or www.howard.edu/helpinghands.

Brittany Stevenson, 21, was one of scores of Howard University students who took to the rain-soaked streets for 12 hours Sunday to raise money so they can help people in Haiti and in five U.S. cities during their spring break.  More than 350 Howard students will be working in Haiti, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and Washington, D.C., March 13 to March 19. on a variety of service projects.  Brittany and 100 students will be in Atlanta tutoring elementary school students in preparation for state achievement tests. (Justin D. Knight)
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