By Erika Urivez
The TRIO Program will be selling apples and donuts from Oct. 29 until Nov. 2 to raise money in order to sponsor a child’s school tuition in Haiti through the Power of Education Foundation fundraiser.
This will be TRIO’s second year sponsoring Samuel, a young boy from Fontamara, Haiti. With the help of donations, the program has surpassed their goal of raising $600 almost every year for the past eight years. Their first child, Mickerlange, was sponsored for six years and is now able to attend high school.
Vicky Powers, assistant director of TRIO, explained that getting an education in Haiti isn’t a simple process.
“If you have the funds, you can go to school, but if you don’t, you can’t,” Powers said. “The system isn’t set up like it is here. If you don’t have the funds, you’re almost predestined to stay where you are.”
Powers then explained the importance of having a program like TRIO at Grand Rapids Community College.
“We understand that we are a global community,” Powers said. “Particularly at GRCC we are diverse. So when students and staff understand what we are doing, they’re quick to respond.”
Powers said that while the proceeds succeed in making it possible for a child to eat and go to school, it also affects their entire family. She’s been witness to how their lives are changed as well and has the opportunity to communicate with the families through Skype.
TRIO is a program that assists low-income and/or first generation college students. Powers said that being in the program doesn’t mean they’re less than everyone else, but they just didn’t have someone to guide them through the college process. The program is diverse and has students representing almost every continent.
Students from the TRIO Program will be located in three different locations on campus. They will be in the lower level of the Student Center, on the fourth floor of the Main Building and in the Science Building on the first floor. They will be at the stands from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. selling the donuts and apples for $1.