The Vassar Haiti Project's volunteers are at the heart of what we can accomplish in Haiti. Members of the community, near and far, work closely with Vassar College students in a myriad of ways. Members bring their experience, professional ideas, and perspective to the different projects we work on together. A keen sense of humor is always appreciated.
In turn, Vassar Haiti Project students share their contextual vision of the work we do in Haiti with adult volunteers. Ideas and points of view are discussed and challenged and we learn from each other. Community members are all ages and can include members of the medical community, alumnae community, legal profession, students from other universities, and many other professions. Community members can be a great resource of networking for Vassar Haiti Project students.
"My name is Cyndie Alcius. I was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I moved the States in 1999 with my parents and only visited Haiti twice since. I learned about the program from Vassar College's website about three years ago. I attended one of the art sales, had a blast, and went to work (I'm a nurse) and told one of my surgeons about he sale. It happened to be Dr. Dan Katz! He introduced me to Lila Meade and the rest is history.
"I love the Vassar Haiti Project's program and try my best to help out as much as I can. I teach basic creole to the group of students who travel to Haiti and teach them a little bit about the culture. Volunteering for the program gives me a sense of purpose, although my part is very small. It reconnects me a little bit to my roots and gives me a lot of joy to share with the Vassar students."
The Vassar Haiti Project has been a big part of the last 16 years of Nancy's life. From its inception, she was a dedicated behind the scenes supporter, enthusiastically cheering on the art sales, and watching the project grow. It was when the medical clinic changed from an idea into a plan and then finally into an actual on the ground operational clinic, that she jumped at the opportunity to be more involved. Nancy's background as President & Owner of a medical billing company and regularly working in Healthcare meshes perfectly with working with local doctors on governance for the medical clinic.
"I feel privileged to have served on the Medical Advisory Board since its inception in 2014 and am excited to see where the vision of the new and future student leadership takes us all."
As a long time resident of Dutchess County, Nancy has been active on numerous local boards and she is an enthusiastic supporter of many community organizations in the area.
Reverend Karen Campbell
"I am the fortunate priest who inherited The Vassar Haiti Project the summer of 2012, the year I arrived at Christ Episcopal Church, Sag Harbor, NY. The parish had signed-up to host a weekend sale every other year
"During the sales, I sometimes I feed people but mostly I schmooze! Now our parish supports a secondary student and our Christmas Fair earnings will go to VHP to aid the village. I am delighted to be a small part of this fabulous team!"
Todd & Mary Clinton
Todd is employed by Salisbury Bank & Trust Company for the past 30 years and is an Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer. Volunteering has been a significant part of Todd's life. He served as President of the Millerton Lions Club from 2007-2014, Treasurer from 1994-2017, President of the Millerton Chamber of Commerce back in the 1990's and has held other various positions with other organizations.
Mary is employed as the Deputy Treasurer of the Webutuck Central School for the past 15 years. She has also participated in the Millerton Lions Club for 20 years.
Todd has a passion for art, especially Haitian art. He and his wife Mary began attending the annual auction five years ago. The beauty of the art, the energy of the students, faculty and volunteers and the many accomplishments being made year to year in Haiti motivates you to do more to help.
“So, after the 2017 auction, we were greeted by Co-Founder and President Lila Meade, who thanked us (as she has in past years) for supporting the event. We discussed about becoming community volunteers and we are so excited to be a part of a very special group of people who continue to make a difference in our global community. “
"While VHP's primary mission is to better the lives of Haitians, it is also an amazing win-win endeavor of all involved - Vassar students and the larger community, including alums like me. It has given me a real way to contribute to a world often filled with mass deprivation and disaster.
"Lila and and Andrew have created an alternate universe in which students learn new skills - leadership, business, environmental and exposure to the art world along with respect, kindness and joy. I'm part of this amazing project because part of me that demonstrates how we can grow peace in the world by taking action together."
Jamie grew up in Poughkeepsie, one block from Vassar College. For Jamie, being around Vassar feels like home, and no time is that feeling greater than working with the Vassar Haiti Project. Jamie is also involved in VHP because of its dedication to foster global citizens. Having previously lived in Beijing, China for four years, Jamie believes in the power of cross-cultural communication and understanding.
Lastly, Jamie loves how the passion, dedication, and love of its members comes together to produce the unique energy that drives VHP. Jamie currently works as an independent college counselor guiding international students and their families through the American college application process.
"Now retired, I was the director of Field Work at Vassar College for 20 years. I remain an active community member in Poughkeepsie, serving on several non-profit boards, and hosting a popular community affairs radio show.
" I love being a VHP supporter because I believe it is the best experiential learning program in America. This unpretentious, multidisciplinary, multicultural curriculum teaches the relationship between economics and human well-being, art and spirit, and how focused, cooperative administration yields successful results. It also presents students with the life-long possibility of forging a path toward justice amid their direct experience of the world’s gruesome inequalities. "
Susan grew up in NYS and currently splits time between NJ and the mid-Hudson Valley. She joined VHP in 2002 after learning about it from her life partner David Schwartz and Co-Founders Lila & Andrew Meade. Susan quickly became an enthusiastic, passionate and committed community volunteer as well as lover and collector of Haitian art and crafts. She truly enjoys interacting and selling to our Buyers/Supporters, volunteering at as many events as possible.
She also enjoys spending time with student and other community volunteers. Her background is in sales, marketing and new business development in the direct mail marketing industry and has a newer career selling real estate in Bergen County, NJ.
"Volunteering for such a dynamic and incredibly caring organization has enhanced my life with new friendships, an ever growing sense of the privilege Ihave had, and the satisfaction of helping make the lives of Haitians better. Everyone can make a difference!"
"After retiring as an Early Childhood Education Specialist, I was eager to volunteer in some way serving children and families. In 2014, I had the privilege of meeting Lila and Andrew Meade and helping VHP organize an Art and Handcraft Sale to benefit Chermaitre. It was a truly impactful experience and the beginning of a very special relationship with the Vassar Haiti Project. The commitment and passion that drives the work of the VHP Team is quite contagious! The authentic relationships and clear intentions consistently demonstrated by the VHP Team in all they do are exemplary. Here’s to many, many more times working together!"
"I’m an alum (Class of ’78) who only in the last few years has become aware of the great work that the Vassar Haiti Project has been undertaking. Since I’m not in the campus neighborhood, or able to be on the ground in Haiti (yet!) I show my support through purchases of art so the work of these fabulous artists can then be turned into revenues that are recycled back into the wonderful VHA programs in Chermaitre and the surrounding region."