Dr. Jean Montes works with students of the Holy Trinity School of Music in Port-Au-Prince.

Dr. Jean Montes works with students of the Holy Trinity School of Music in Port-Au-Prince. Photo by Wadner Pierreat 6:30 p.m. in Bobet Hall’s Ignatius Chapel. A fundraiser will be held during the week of January 10th with proceeds going to Doctors without Borders.

Loyola University New Orleans will commemorate last year’s devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti with a prayer service on Wednesday, Jan. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Bobet Hall’s Ignatius Chapel. A fundraiser will be held during the week of January 10th with proceeds going to Doctors without Borders.

Since the earthquake, Loyola has led several efforts to assist its own Haitian community as well as people on the island nation. A Hope for Haiti task force was formed in January 2010 by the university and was charged with uniting Loyola’s response to the tragedy through events, fundraising and spiritual support. The committee identified relief resources and planned for a sustained aid effort throughout the year.

For eight Haitian students at Loyola who suddenly found themselves financially bound, Loyola committed to provide funding to support them while they remain enrolled full-time. This financial commitment enables these students to continue their studies without worrying about financial shortfalls they or their families may be still experiencing.

Loyola’s Office of Institutional Advancement has raised more than $100,000 to support the students, according to Development Officer Anna Justice. These funds are the result of the generosity of J. Kerry Clayton and Paige Royer through the Clayton-Royer Family Fund, the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation and the late Moise Steeg Jr.

Haitian émigré Jean Montès, D.M.A., is an associate professor of music at Loyola and the director of orchestras. The music school where he studied in Haiti was leveled, and he was determined to help the school and its students in some way. Montes, along with the support of the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra, organized a massive effort to collect and deliver more than 500 unused or unwanted music instruments to students of the Holy Trinity School of Music in Port-Au-Prince, Ecole Musique Dessaix-Baptiste in Jacmel, and Ambassador’s Music Institute in LaPlaine. He traveled to Haiti twice in 2010 with students and volunteers to deliver the instruments to the earthquake victims. Montès says he has 1,000 more instruments to deliver.

“We gave music students in Haiti something tangible so they can continue to keep music in their lives,” said Montès. “Their new instruments brought them comfort and support in the wake of the earthquake in which most instruments and supplies were lost.”

Assisting Montès in his efforts was Loyola music therapy senior and Haiti native Riva Precil who organized “Ayiti Cheri,” meaning Haiti beloved, a benefit concert and art performance. The event featured Haitian folk songs and dancing performed by students, and food and art sales. The event raised approximately $2,500 to benefit the Holy Trinity School of Music.

The Loyola Ballet and the Komenka Ethnic Dance Ensemble also assisted Montès with his cause by turning their Spring concert into a fundraiser. The performance included traditional Haitian dances choreographed by Haitians Jeoboham “Zo” Pierre and Precil.

Throughout 2010, Loyola students were galvanized to help. Several events were hosted to raise awareness and funds, from t-shirt and bake sales, to concerts, to walking door-to-door with donation cans.

Haitian mass communication sophomore Wadner Pierre and Loyola Law student Rene Merino traveled to Haiti in February 2010 to deliver much needed clothing, shoes, medical supplies and school supplies donated by the Loyola community. Their airfare was funded by donations at Loyola.

“We worked directly with people in the effected community to make sure that the supplies went to immediate use,” said Pierre. “In Haiti, it is very important to work with those in the community so that their needs can be better understood and met.”

In other efforts, Loyola’s Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and Student Government Association hosted a benefit concert, “Hope for Haiti,” with performances by local bands and Loyola students. Event proceeds were donated to Partners in Health. Loyola’s College Republicans also held a benefit at the Palms Bar and Grill benefitting Partners in Health. Loyola psychology students raised $1,600 through several efforts and donated the funds to the American Red Cross and Catholic Relief Services.

Loyola’s Office of Residential Life held a book drive to donate books to Better World Books and Plan USA, organizations that donate books to needy countries. Last Spring, students were encouraged to donate their used non-resalable textbooks to the cause. Books that were in good condition were sold online by Plan USA and books in non-sellable condition but still usable were sent directly to Haitian schools.

“The efforts made by the Loyola community have been a tremendous help to not only to the mainland, but also in helping Haitian students graduate from Loyola” said Pierre. “However more than one million people are still living in makeshift tents and hundreds are still living with injuries…needless to say that the country has quite a long way to go for recovery.”

For more information or to interview Montès or Haitian students at Loyola, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call (504) 861-5882.

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Dear members of the Loyola community:

As you know, earlier this year Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake. Haiti’s infrastructure, institutions, and economy have been slow to recover, and residents have had a very difficult time over these last few months as incomes have vanished and suffering has endured.

Several students from Haiti attend our university. Concerned faculty, staff, and students have had many conversations regarding how we might best assist our students who have been most affected by this disaster. Today, I am pleased to announce the university’s plan to assist these students:

Through fundraising, both present and future, Loyola will provide funds to support these students during their remaining semesters at Loyola while they are enrolled full-time in a four-year program. We are sending each student a letter today affirming our obligation to them, along with the length of the commitment and other details relevant to this covenant. In short, we are doing our part so that these students will have the opportunity to graduate from Loyola.

New Orleans knows well the impact of a natural disaster, and it has always been Loyola’s mission to take an active role in rebuilding and in healing. These great students are excellent contributors to Loyola and have continued to work hard in the midst of this turbulent semester. We hope that this small act by the university will assist them in their personal roads to recovery.

Thanks to all of you for your support of these students and Haiti during this time. I would also personally like to thank Chris Wiseman and Anna Justice from Institutional Advancement and Sarah Cooper from the Student Government Association for their leadership in fundraising, Debbie Danna and her team at the Center for International Education, and Tony Decuir and Robert Reed for working with students and others in the administration to help craft and execute this important plan.

With prayers,

Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D.

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March 5, 2010
Loyola Haiti Taskforce

Attendees:  Robert Reed, Beth Coyne, Isabelle Duran, Kelsey Van Bree, Wadner Pierre, Karen Reichard, Nic Nall, Kristy Magner.


Robert Reed reported that the Ayiti Cheri benefit raised about $2,500.

Isabelle Duran discussed the upcoming Haitian benefit concert that the International Student Association is hosting.  It will be held on March 9th at the Republic.

The committee discussed various ways we can get items collected to Haiti.  Kristy Magner suggested possibly sending a few small supplies with Jean Montes when he visits Haiti.

Kristy Magner has been in contact with a recent Loyola alumnus who is living in Haiti and is in need of a tent for 6-7 people.  The cost of this tent will be around $300. Robert Reed suggested talking with Kurt Bindewald or Chris Wiseman to see if they could help provide funding.  Lindsey Keslar will post this on the Hope for Haiti blog as well.

Nic Nall discussed the Haitian benefit concert that Phi Eta Sigma and SGA are having on Friday, March 12th in the Peace Quad.  Several organizations, including Blanket Haiti, BSU, and LASO, will have information tables set up.  They will also sell t-shirts.  Proceeds from the event will go to Partners in Health.  Nic is trying to find information about Partners in Health to hand out at the event, and is planning to request information from the website.  They have decided against using sponsorship from local businesses since SGA is now co-sponsoring the event along with Phi Eta Sigma.  Wadner Pierre offered to provide a slide show for the event.

Karen Reichard discussed the Half the Sky event that will be held at Loyola on September 23rd.  Sheryl WuDunn, co-author of Half the Sky, will be here to discuss how women in developing countries have empowered themselves and the ways they are uplifting their countries.

The committee discussed having a panel discussion at the beginning of the fall semester.  We are going to try to contact Dr. Paul Farmer about possibly participating.

Robert Reed reported that we still have not resolved the financial concerns that our Haitian students are having, but we are continuing to work on it.  Wadner Pierre discussed his need for more grant money.

Our next meeting will be held Friday, March 12th at 3:30 pm in the Danna Center Gallery Room A.

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For the past several semesters, the Office of Residential Life has hosted a book drive to encourage students to donate some of their used textbooks. Students are first encouraged to sell their books back to the bookstore, but books that cannot be sold are then donated. Working with Better World Books, Loyola University students have raised money for global literacy programs, kept unnecessary waste out of the landfills, and saved the resources (trees, water, electricity) it takes to create new books.

Beginning in the spring of 2010, Loyola University students will now be donating their used books to a more local cause, Haiti. Loyola University has partnered with Better World Books and Plan USA, one of the largest organizations bringing aid to Haiti. Plan USA aims to help rebuild the country, its schools, and provide teacher training and scholarships to its citizens. All of the books collected by Loyola students will in some way help our closet neighbors, brother, and sister. Books that are in good enough condition are sold online, where proceeds go to Plan USA. Books that are in worse condition, but still usable, are donated to Plan USA for use in Haitian schools. Finally, those books that are unfortunately beyond use are recycled, which plays a large role in helping the environment.

To date, our students have donated almost 1000 pounds of books, which saved the waste of 7000 gallons of water, 925 pounds of greenhouse gases, over 2000 kilowatts of electricity, and have kept 12 trees from being cut down unnecessarily.

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February 26, 2010
Haiti Taskforce

Attendees:  Annie Halbert, Kristy Magner, Jethro Celestin, Kurt Bindewald, Nick Nall, Beth Coyne, Lindsey Keslar, Robert Reed.

“Haiti Cheri” concert is tonight.   The Twomey Print Shop donated programs for the concert.

Nick Nall discussed the Haiti benefit concert that Phi Eta Sigma is co-sponsoring with SGA.  They have confirmed 7 bands.  They will sell posters and t-shirts, and all proceeds will be given to Partners in Health.  Nick is also seeking sponsorship from local businesses. Continue reading »

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February 19, 2010
Loyola Hope for Haiti Task Force

Attendees:  Jamie Broussard, Robbie Reed, Beth Coyne, Kristy Magner, Karen Reichard, Riva Precil, Sareeca Hoskins, Josh Daly, Meredith Hartley

Minutes from 2/5 are ok.

Sodexo is taking care of covering students who need help with meals.

A grant is available for Haitian students on student visas.

Judy Vogel is extending the tuition payment schedule for Haitian students.

Preliminary discussion for long term assistance to help students is beginning.

Riva and Sareeca ask that you help spread the word about the concert. Event will consist of a narrative by Dr. Parham, drumming, singing, poetry, saxophone, strings, dance performance, video – Trinity School of Music, Ayiti Cheri song. In addition art work will be on display. Programs need to be made. Riva and Sareeca will talk to Twomey and the duplicating center about donations/cost. If an account # is needed it will be provided by Beth Coyne in Co-Curricular.

Meredith Hartley added an e-mail from Dr. Montez’ to the blog. There is a drive for instruments 3/26-3/28.

Women’s Resource Center is hosting an event on 3/3 at 7pm with reps from C.A.R.E. They will be discussing women and poverty particularly their work in Haiti and how people can help. Continue reading »

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In an effort to revitalize music education in Haiti, Loyola University New Orleans music professor and Haitian native Jean Montès, D.M.A., will travel there in late March with a group of students and volunteers to deliver music instruments to the earthquake-devastated Holy Trinity School of Music.

The group, with the generous support of the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra, is organizing a massive effort to collect music instruments from individuals who no longer use them. After collecting unwanted instruments and funds to purchase others, the group will travel to Haiti for three days to deliver the supplies to students of the school. Continue reading »

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Dear friends,

Words are not enough to thank you for the level of kindness you have expressed toward Haiti in the past few weeks.  This enormous tragedy exposed the fragility of our human existence.  It has also helped us reassess the true meaning of our own lives.

Today, I am reaching out to your and your friends to make a contribution to the future of Haiti.

The Holy Trinity School of Music, the most well-established music school in Haiti, which gave me and many others the foundation we needed to be musicians and become valuable contributors on the world stage, lies in ruin.  But the spirit of the school lives on.  Now, more than ever, we can work together to make a positive impact in the lives of Haiti’s young musicians.

While we are making efforts to rebuild the school, which was a cultural center for the performing arts in Haiti, we need to do something immediately to save lives and heal wounded souls through the power of music.

Therefore, in this first phase of our efforts and with the generous support of the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra (a 501.c3 non-profit organization), I am organizing a massive effort to collect musical instruments, as many as possible, for the music students in Haiti who have lost everything.  Continue reading »

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Two weeks ago, Haitian journalism student Wadner Pierre and law students Rene Merino and Audrey Stewart left on a week long trip to Haiti.  About a week before, Wadner compiled a list of the items in high demand, and asked a few of us to collect whatever we could so that the three of them could deliver those things directly to the people.

When we hastily put together the 5-day drive, I was unsure about the response we would get.  I had absolutely no idea at the time that the Loyola community would respond like they did.  Ignatius Chapel became the consolidation point of the 5 collection boxes on the main campus.  By the last day, about one quarter of the chapel was overflowing with clothes, shoes, medical supplies and school supplies.  I was overwhelmed and so grateful to witness the incredible generosity of the Loyola community. Continue reading »

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February 5, 2010
Loyola Hope for Haiti Task Force

Attendees:  Kurt Bindewald, Nicholas Nall, Josh Daly, Annie Halbert, Lindsey Keslar

Josh Daly has been in contact with Partners in Heath.  We need to find out when the ship will get to Haiti and where exactly it is going.  They primarily need medical supplies, but are also collecting other various items.

Through the items collected in the Residence Halls and University Ministry, more items were collected than what Wadner Pierre could fit in his suitcases.  We are storing these items in the Danna Center and are looking into how we can get them to Haiti.

Annie Halbert suggested possibly working with the Hope for Haitian Children organization, a local organization which collects items to send to Haiti.  Annie will research this organization and look into the possibility of working with them to get the items we have received to Haiti. Continue reading »

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