Lynn continues the spirit of volunteerism at Knights Unite Day of Caring

Announcement of the “Remembrance Plaza” to be made at 4 p.m. on Jan. 12

Published Jan. 04, 2011

Jan. 12, 2011, at exactly 4:53 p.m., marks the one-year anniversary of the devastating Haitian earthquake that took the lives of four Lynn University students and two professors. The six traveled with eight other students on a “Journey of Hope Haiti” to find, feed and focus on the poor of that nation.

“We hoped and prayed for the safe return of all 14 members of our Lynn University family,” said President Kevin M. Ross in a message to the university community, “but our prayers have only been partially answered. We were blessed with the safe return of eight members of the group – Thomas Schloemer, Nikki Fantauzzi, Daniela Montealegre, Julie Prudhomme, Michael DeMatteo, Melissa Elliott, Lindsay Doran and Paul Tyska – but it is with the heaviest of hearts that we have confirmed the passing of the six remaining members. Professors Richard Bruno and Patrick Hartwick and students Stephanie Crispinelli, Britney Gengel, Christine Gianacaci and Courtney Hayes spent the last hours of their lives serving others, and they leave behind a legacy of compassion and strength that we will always remember.”

Knights Unite FinalOn Wednesday, Jan. 12, students, staff and faculty will live the legacy of the students lost during Lynn’s first annual Knights Unite Day of Caring. Throughout the day, the Lynn community will participate in service projects to honor the service their friends, colleagues, mentors and peers did on the last day of their lives in Haiti.

“Lynn University plans to continue the spirit of service and volunteerism that all 14 members demonstrated on their Journey of Hope trip to Haiti,” said Phil Riordan, vice president of student life.

The Lynn community will participate in eight service projects that run simultaneously from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (unless otherwise stated) on Jan. 12.

Off-campus service projects:

  • Paint Your Heart Out – Lynn volunteers help paint the exterior of homes owned by low income, senior, disabled and/or veterans. Two homes located in Boynton Beach and/or Delray Beach have been reserved for Lynn University.
  • Habitat for Humanity South Palm Beach County – Lynn volunteers help build a home for the poor. The home will be located in either Boynton Beach or Delray Beach.
  • C.R.O.S. (Christians Reaching Out to Society) Ministries – C.R.O.S. Ministries is offering several volunteer options for Lynn students, staff and faculty including:
    • The Caring Kitchen – Volunteers will help prep food for lunch and assist in serving the poor in Delray Beach.
    • After School Snacks – Volunteers will prepare sandwiches for afterschool programs at the Milagro Center and the A-Z program in Delray Beach. 140 sandwiches will be made and delivered to The Caring Kitchen by 1 p.m.
  • Yamato Scrub Natural Area – Volunteers will participate in a planting and trash removal project located off Clint Moore Road in Boca Raton from 9 a.m.– noon.
  • Gumbo Limbo Nature Center – Volunteers will participate in a beach clean-up in Boca Raton.

On-campus service projects:

  • Feeding Children Everywhere – Volunteers will package meals for underprivileged children in the Green Center on Lynn’s campus from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. The more money raised, the more meals can be packaged. Lynn’s goal is to package 50,000 meals.
  • Help One of Our Own – Volunteers will help keep Lynn’s campus clean and orderly by vacuuming, washing windows and taking out the trash, among other duties, so Lynn’s Haitian employees will have the opportunity to stay home on Jan. 12 to be with friends and family, and mourn the tragic events in their homeland one year ago.

Remembrance Plaza and Celebration of Life

At 4 p.m., the first public announcement of the permanent memorial on Lynn’s campus will be made. The “Remembrance Plaza” will honor the students and professors lost in the quake. This will be followed by a moment of silence at 4:53 p.m. and a Celebration of Life at 5 p.m.

A timeline of activities for Knights Unite Day of Caring:
  • 8:30 a.m.:  The Lynn community will gather in the cafeteria for a private prayer by Lynn religious studies professor, Rev. Mark Luttio.
  • 9 a.m.–3 p.m.:  Members of the Lynn community will participate in service projects on and off campus.
  • 12 p.m.:  A Catholic mass will be held in Langren Chapel.
  • 3 p.m.:  An inter-faith service will be held in the Amarnick-Goldstein Concert Hall in the de Hoernle International Center on Lynn’s campus.
  • 4 p.m.:  The “Remembrance Plaza” will be announced and its renderings unveiled adjacent to the Perper Plaza on campus.
  • 4:45 p.m.:  The Lynn community will gather in the Perper Plaza to remember those lost in Haiti. Students will light the luminaries and sing “Lean on Me” – a song that became very meaningful to Lynn’s campus following the Jan. 12 earthquake. A moment of silence will occur at 4:53 p.m.
  • 5-7 p.m.:  A Celebration of Life will feature authentic Haitian food, arts and music.
Media events:
  • 8 a.m.:  Media stand-up adjacent to the ring of flags in front of campus with President Kevin M. Ross and Vice President for Student Life Phil Riordan. A question and answer with members of the media will follow the brief presentation.
  • 9 a.m.:  Media are not invited to attend the private, campus-only prayer and gathering scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Beginning at 9 a.m., media will be granted access into the heart of campus for the remainder of the day to capture footage and interview students.
  • 4 p.m.: The “Remembrance Plaza” will be announced and its renderings unveiled to the media. Then at 4:20 p.m. announcement participants, including President Ross and architect Luis Sousa, will grant brief media interviews.
Please note:

The scheduled service projects are subject to change. Lynn's Knights Unite Day of Caring is not open to the public, but media are invited to attend. All media inquiries should be directed to Laura Vann, public relations specialist.