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White Plains-based Haitian Center Honors French School

From left, Marie Désir, parent; Martine Carroll, teacher/parent; Gilbert Ekotto; Judeson Saintil, HRC co-founder; Blandine Fillion, FASNY trustee; John Botti, FASNY trustee; Heather Miller, executive director of Thomas H. Slater Center.
From left, Marie Désir, parent; Martine Carroll, teacher/parent; Gilbert Ekotto; Judeson Saintil, HRC co-founder; Blandine Fillion, FASNY trustee; John Botti, FASNY trustee; Heather Miller, executive director of Thomas H. Slater Center. Photo Credit: Contributed

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The French-American School of New York was recently honored by the Haitian Resource Center for its dedication to children and for being a constant ally to the center.

The school received the recognition during HRC’s second annual fundraising gala in New Rochelle. “It is wonderful to be honored for our continued partnership with the Haitian Resource Center, a vital organization in our community,” said Mischa Zabotin, chairman of the board of trustees of Mamaroneck-based FASNY. “We are proud of the partnership that we have developed with the organization and of having helped many children in the process.”

The Haitian Resource Center was established in March 2013 to provide services to the growing and underserved Haitian population in Westchester County. HRC operates under the auspices of the Thomas H. Slater Center in White Plains. Many within the Haitian community face obstacles such as language, integration, immigration, citizenship and access to resources, among others. HRC seeks to break down these barriers by providing direct services, referrals and advocacy.

Several FASNY representatives, including Gilbert Ekotto, dean of middle school students, attended the ceremony to receive the award. Ekotto accepted the award on behalf of the students who have volunteered at HRC and thanked the parents and teachers who helped to organize the community service. He also thanked the board of trustees for its  support. “I was honored to receive the award on behalf of FASNY,” Ekotto said. “The entire program was very moving. I was glad to be part of such a special program.”

The day after HRC’s gala, FASNY students who were the most involved with the resource center were recognized during an assembly at the school and were presented the award. Ekotto explained to all the students that their service makes a difference and reaffirmed FASNY’s commitment to the Haitian Resource Center. “Everyone felt very proud of the students and of the school,” Zabotin said. “It was great for the students to see the outside world recognize their efforts in such a concrete way. I am sure that this experience with HRC is going to inspire many more hours of community service."

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