New Clarendon school honours memory of Haitian earthquake victim


More than 100 children are now being schooled at Steph’s Place, a newly-built elementary school located in Race Course, Clarendon.
Through the assistance of Food for the Poor, the school was dedicated as a tribute to the legacy of former student of Lynn University, Stephanie Crispinelli, one of the victims of the destruction of the Montana Hotel, Port-au-Prince, during the Haiti earthquake last January.
Stephanie was a 19 year-old student, majoring in Human Services, who had volunteered with Food for the Poor (FFP) on several projects in Jamaica and Haiti and was doing such work in Haiti, at the time of her death. Her parents, Lin and Lenny Crispinelli of New Jersey, decided to create a legacy of charity in her honour.
Her first volunteer stint with FFP was in Jamaica, where it was stated that she fell in love with the country and people during her visit. So, her parents decided to construct a school to carry out their daughter’s mission as she was committed to changing lives.
Updating friends and nationals of the Caribbean Diaspora, at a recent thanksgiving service at the FFP Headquarters in Coconut Creek, President and Chief Executive Officer, Robin Mahfood, said that the project is one of many programmes funneled through the Christian-based international relief and development organisation, in Jamaica.
The Service held last Thursday (November 18) was followed by an information session and tour of the facilities. A collaborative event of the Consulate General of Jamaica, the Diaspora Advisory Board Southern USA and the Food for the Poor, the programme was an effort to foster continued relations with the community to establish ongoing response methods to areas of need, as well as disasters in the Caribbean region.
Mr. Mahfood explained that Lin and Lenny Crispinelli had agreed to build a school every year in Jamaica, to honour the work of their daughter. They have now begun to raise funds for the effort, under the Stephanie Crispinelli Humanitarian Fund, established since her death.
A group of 28 family and friends, including Lin and Lenny Crispinelli, travelled to Jamaica in June, where they collaborated with Food for the Poor staff and local residents, to complete construction of the school – Steph’s Place – in two days.
“Family and friends came together in a real meaningful way to fulfill Stephanie’s mission, a tremendous blessing for the people of the Clarendon community,”
Mr. Mahfood said. The school was an unfinished church building, described as an environmentally unsafe, with limited bathroom facilities and no kitchen access.
Food for the Poor has been ranked among the ten largest charities in the United States. Started in 1982, it has had a history of relationship with countries of the Caribbean region in the area of international relief and development organisation.
Working with churches and missionaries, other non profit and service organisations, the goal of Food for the Poor is to improve the health, economic, social and spiritual conditions of the communities it serves in nearly 17 countries throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
Programme development is carried out in those communities, through an expansive network in education and skills training, feeding and food distribution, provision of medical care, orphanages, clean water projects, micro-enterprise development in agriculture and fishing, and school and housing construction for the destitute.
Jamaica’s Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths, encouraged the Diaspora community leaders to create mechanisms to do even more goodwill for the community, through collaboration with international agencies, like the Food for the Poor.
These sentiments were echoed by St. Lucia’s Consul General, Kent Hippolyte, as he expressed gratitude to the organisation, and the wider Diaspora community for ongoing support since the recent devastation of Hurricane Tomas.
Also in attendance were Jamaican Diaspora Advisory Board representative to the Southern USA, Marlon Hill; Executive Director, FFP, Angel Aloma; FFP’s Jamaican and Haitian project managers, Susan James and Delane Bailey-Herd, respectively; FFP’s Director, of public relations Kathy Skipper; and other staff members of the organisation.
A video presentation detailing the work of Food for the Poor was shown, followed by a tour of the facilities, including extensive storage facilities.

JIS Social