St. Thomas helps town in Haiti educate kids
By Wendy Foster For The Sun January 9, 2013 1:44PM
Proceeds from a Bingo fundraiser at St. Thomas the Apostle Church will benefit students in the public schools of Duchity, Haiti. | Submitted by St. Thomas the Apostle Church
At a Glance
What: “Movie Bingo” staged by Nuns4Fun Entertainment (nuns4fun.com). Snacks will be provided, and there will be a 50/50 Raffle.
Where: St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 1500 Brookdale Road, Naperville
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 (doors open 6:45)
Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Proceeds benefit the St. Thomas Duchity, Haiti Education Fund.
Contact: 630-306-2003, email@example.com or visit the church main office for tickets.
Updated: February 12, 2013 2:13PM
In 1999, Duchity, Haiti, had one public elementary school with 550 students taught by four teachers. Fourteen years later, the public school system has improved dramatically, now boasting three schools with 36 teachers and more than 1,300 students.
St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Naperville is one big reason for that success. Parishioners there have been supporting the cause for several years, including an upcoming fundraiser. More than $50,000 has been raised by St. Thomas annually.
“Their education system is now something that people are really truly proud of,” said Julie Murphy, chairwoman of the education committee for St. Thomas the Apostle’s program with Duchity, Haiti. “Now the community has one of the best educational systems in Haiti. People come from other areas to learn about it. The community has supported the idea that education is the way to support ourselves.”
St. Thomas started a twinning relationship with a parish in Duchity to provide ongoing support in a variety of areas, including education, medical, dental and sanitation.
Murphy explained that the objective of the educational component is to help the children grow “to become independent, self-sustaining and leaders of their village.”
“The cost to educate one child is $50 to $100 per year,” Murphy said.
Her committee raises funds through donations, programs and special events, such as the “Movie Bingo” performance Feb. 2. This year, the committee has changed its goal from $50,000 to $40,000.
“The people of Duchity are being asked to step up and provide some money for education as well,” said Alice Osterman, a member of the education committee at St. Thomas and a coordinator of the performance.
The twinning relationship is designed to be mutually beneficial. Several trips are coordinated to Duchity each year for medical, dental, educational and vision care, electricity and water sanitation missions.
“The friendships forged and the relationships that have been forged over the years and are what make the benefits mutual,” Osterman said. “It’s an important relationship.”
Several months ago, Murphy called her committee together to brainstorm some ideas for fundraising. Osterman suggested they host a production by Nuns4Fun Entertainment. That led them to “Movie Bingo,” by Vicki Quade, who is known for creating the popular show “Late Nite Catechism.” An interactive adventure, Osterman said that the entire audience will be given bingo cards upon entering, and the game will be integrated into the one-woman show.
“This will be hilarious. It’ll really appeal to anyone who has ever had a brush with nuns or Catholic ways,” Osterman said.
“It’ll be a really fun presentation. The audience will play a little bingo and win prizes. It’ll be a fun event for a cold February night,” Murphy said.
“The production is coming in from Chicago, so we don’t have to go to see it in Chicago. It’ll be free parking and all of those good things.