This past week in Worcester, we discussed how Len and Cherylann, along with Bernie, Cherylann's sister Jodi, Len's sister Chrissy, and our good friend PJ, more than six years ago, sat around a table in discussions with family and friends on what our Mission and Vision Statements would be. They shared with us around the table in Worcester how difficult and how painful a process it was for them to work on the original Mission Statement. The formalization of the Mission, the purpose, was recognizing the undeniable reality that Britney, along with 300,000 others, had lost their lives in Haiti. The time to start picking up the pieces, both literally and figuratively, was only just beginning…
More than three years and 66 children later, here we are. I think for most of us who have been on this journey, it's hard to wrap your head around the fact that so much of that original Mission Statement has been fulfilled. The Gengels have established a safe, nurturing, and sustainable orphanage. Actually, that's the part that was getting us - that word. Orphanage. As we all sat around the table, we discussed the fact about how that word conjures up all sorts of images which we are not representative of what has been created here in Haiti at BLB. Indeed, we are a family and we are not an orphanage. We are a home. We have established this home. We are working more and more towards sustaining it. With the generosity of thousands of our friends, child sponsors, and donors around the world, we are working towards that sustainability. There is still so much to be done!
Our cistern, our acre of gardens, our solar panel system for clean energy: All of this contributes to our sustainability. While we work towards that sustainability, we are considering our new Mission Statement to include the following:
Our commitment is to continue the compassion of Britney Gengel by serving the children of Haiti and sustaining a safe, nurturing home rooted in the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love while developing a sense of social responsibility, community involvement, and unconditional love.
This past week Madame Love and I both left Haiti to travel back north to Worcester MA both to be able to attend our Golf Tournament hosted by Cyprian Keyes and for a series of very important meetings including a Board Meeting and several days of full Team Be Like Brit planning sessions It is rare for the entirety of Team BLB to be in t... Read More
Happy June Its crazy to think that we are more than half way through 2016 and weve got so much more lined up for the rest of the year We were thrilled to host our first Britsionary group of June a fabulous group from St Peter Marian in Worcester who spent the week working alongside our Haitian staff building a home f... Read More
The other night as I was walking out of the office just as the children were finishing up with their own dinner I noticed our social worker Madame Gina sitting down to eat with a group of 10 or so of our children This was a bit unusual as of all of the meal times and events that go on here at BLB and there are many dinner time is the o... Read More
Yes the title of this blog is a painfully corny playonwords to the equally painful 1990 film Men at Work I couldnt help myself and beg of your forgiveness now We have had an overwhelming week here at Be Like Brit starting with the arrival of Len and Cherylann Richie and Kate Mark and Jan Fuller Wendy Perkins from Worcester Academy Patt... Read More
Growing up in the United States I remember very clearly how much the notion of pride and patriotism in ones country was emphasized Whether it was sitting on the banks of the Saranac River in Plattsburgh NY watching the fireworks commemorate our Independence on July 4 or sitting around the campfire on Lake Champlain with sparklers in ha... Read More
Birthday parties, holiday celebrations, baseball games, family dinners, going to church, family bike rides, learning how to swim, broken bones, tears from bullying and broken hearts, struggles in school, hugs, kisses, I love you's and so much more are just some of the moments that I have shared with Britney, Bernie and Richie. Though we are just starting to create these memories with our 66 children in Haiti, the credit of these moments also belongs to the 50 ladies that I feel blessed to have at BLB every day because they are constantly helping our children. To some, this could be looked at as a job, however, I can personally tell you that these women walk into BLB every day and truly want what is best for our children as if they were their own. Even though we have grown up thousands of miles from one another, we strive for the children to grow in a safe, nurturing environment, to have a strong faith, a sense of self and a great education. That way, they each can grow up to be the best versions of themselves just as I wanted for my own three children. I want to say thank you to our special 50 “moms” in Haiti and to all of the fabulous mothers who are like our 50 ladies,
Birthday parties holiday celebrations baseball games family dinners going to church family bike rides learning how to swim broken bones tears from bullying and broken hearts struggles in school hugs kisses I love yous and so much more are just some of the moments that I have shared with Britney Bernie and Richie Though we are just star... Read More
I froze I felt the smile slowly slide off my face I stared at the picture of the beautiful Haitian sunrise in my hand My eyes fell on the colors in the skydeep blue and orange and pink and grayand on the layers of verdurous mountains that seemed unending and on the warm golden sun whose generous rays bathed the entire landscape I k... Read More
After an exciting week with our friends from Holy Name Junior and Senior High School in Worcester we are rolling into the last week of April and we cant quite believe it Holy Name sends a group down each year and we love the dynamic that having high school students on hand brings to Be Like Brit Indeed the group worked very hard on the... Read More
Its been another busy week here in Haiti and while we often share with you our plans and strategies for sustaining the orphanage and the organization as a whole we dont often talk to you about growth Thats right with as much as we have going on already at Be Like Brit we are always forwardthinking and always examining and planning for ... Read More
It is hard to believe we are a full 10 days into the month of April 2016 already and weve done anything but slow down here at Be Like Brit Having returned later in the week from a trip to the United States working at the Be Like Brit office in Worcester and holding lots of meetings with current and potential partners supporters and don... Read More
After a wonderful Easter holiday the children all finally made their way back to school this past week and we are anxiously awaiting their report cards due sometime this coming week The children truly do love the opportunity to go to school they recognize school as the opportunity and blessing that it is in Haiti the fact that it is a... Read More
With the children on Easter holiday from school this past week having just wrapped up from taking their quarterly exams for their report cards it was an especially busy and hectic week here at Be Like Brit We also had the pleasure of hosting the Asnuntuck Community College group from Enfield CT and having those extra capable hands on d... Read More
Its been just over a week since Madame Love joined the Be Like Brit Haiti Team serving as our Haiti Administrator and working alongside Weenshy in Operations One of the things that we as an organization have struggled with is the cultural gap between our very American ways of conducting business and the ways things may be done differ... Read More
So many memories roll through me and I realize that this is who we are memories and shared experiences This is what ties us all together Words from Melissa Its not very often you meet a group of people who barely know one another who are willing to adapt the plan z mentality without voicing a single word or complai... Read More
We recently had the pleasure of hosting Mark and Judy Bloomberg as longterm Britsionarys Our longterm program is designed to bring professional level volunteers to Haiti and contribute to the overall programming in a meaningful and significant way While we use local talent as much as possible when the need for very specific skill sets ... Read More
Welcome to Be Like Brit our Haiti home Together Len and I raised Britney Bernie and Richie in a house filled with love While we were building Brits Orphanage in the months and years after her death we knew that we wanted Be Like Brit to be a home NOT an institution We knew what we felt was important as parents but we also knew the c... Read More
One of the greatest thing about our Britsionary program in my opinion is the fact that not only does it build homes for those in need here in the area around Be Like Brit but it builds lasting friendships and bonds between volunteers and helps to develop a love and an interest in Haiti and in helping in whatever way one can As a result... Read More
If you were to tune into your nightly news or to run a Google search on Haiti you would almost certainly think that the world was coming to an end down here Google results still include images of the earthquake almost exclusively more than six years on Social media venues allow for ordinary citizens and members of the press alike to up... Read More
As we gear up for another busy week here in Haiti, we'd like to remind you that on January 21, 2015 (Thursday), we invite you to GO BLUE FOR BRIT! In celebration of Brit's birthday (she would be 26!) we are asking our friends to wear their Be Like Brit gear - or anything in blue, really - and send us your photos of you, your classrooms, schools, colleagues, and more wearing their BLUE for Brit! You can email us your photos throughout the day, and we ask you to share them on social media, too! You can find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BeLikeBrit) or on Twitter @BeLikeBrit or Instagram @blbhaiti! Donations in memory of Brit on her birthday will go directly to Haiti, so that we may continue to offer our resources, skills, and talents to help those most in need!
Thank you for helping us help the children of Haiti at Be Like Brit!!!
This past week at Be Like Brit was special for a number of reasons We hosted an incredible group from College of the Holy Cross who built a home for one of our own security guards who is expecting his first child with his girlfriend in the coming months Dr Vicki Kvedar and her daughter Julie spent countless hours in our medical clinic ... Read More
#LoveLivesHere. It truly does. And more than six years after so many thought that the world was coming to an end; six years after for so many the world - or at least this life as we know it in fact did end - the acts of love and the generosity of the human spirit keeps us pressing on, moving forward. Your love and your support have made this journey possible.
As the sun rises this morning of January 10 2016 we here in Haiti wake up in a home which is very filled with love and laughter Our 66 children and our group of Britsionarys enjoyed a safe and secure night climbing into clean beds with full bellies Protected from harm by a strong building even stronger walls and security personnel arou... Read More
In just two days on January 5th we will mark three full years since the dedication of Brits Orphanage in an ecumenical ceremony held before more than a hundred family and friends here in Grand Gove We cant quite wrap our heads around the fact that its been this long and the change and growth we have seen at Be Like Brit is truly remark... Read More
Last week I had the pleasure of flying back in to Haiti from Boston with the Chair of our Program Committee Christine Steinwand and another program committee member Suzanne Brady Chris and Suzanne have been committed to Be Like Brit from the early days as Brits aunt Chris obviously has a clear connection and vested interest in realizin... Read More
Its been quite the week for us at Be Like Brit both in Haiti and in the USA While we welcomed a visit from Cherylann who kept us all busy with planning all the amazing things were working on for 2016 were also busy in the USA planning for the Christmas Holiday in Haiti which includes our Christmas Eve employee appreciation dinner and c... Read More
We hope that all of our friends enjoyed a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday Despite some of the very sad events happening around our world from natural disasters war political crises gun violence and more we do have much to be thankful for While this holiday is not celebrated in Haiti we didnt miss the opportunity to teach the childr... Read More
Hello from Haiti I realized this past week that its been a while since Ive written a blog update With my travel to the US for our annual Fall Gala which was held on November 7 2015 at the DCU Center in Worcester followed by a weeklong vacation for me Im long overdue to share with you what is happening with us here at BLB in HaitiAs I s... Read More
Be Like Brit is proud to be a Gold Participant with the Guide Star Exchange. Be Like Brit is a U.S.A. registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which operates a 19,000sf earthquake proof orphanage in Grand Goave, Haiti. The orphanage was built in loving memory of 19 year old Britney Gengel who perished in the Haiti Earthquake while on a service trip with her college, Lynn University. Today there are 66 beautiful children living and thriving in the orphanage. Hundreds of people, from all over the world, come visit the orphanage to volunteer and thousands of individuals are part of the Be Like Brit Family.