2012 Annual Gala

November, 2012 (New York). At its Seventh Annual Gala at The Tent At Bryant Park Grill in New York City.  COHH presented its Hope Award to M. Scott Cooper and Debra A. Colletti of Los Angeles, California and Will Frager of Topeka, Kansas. The Gala was held for the seventh year to raise funds for developing and operating an orphanage in Hinche, Haiti.

COHH President, Mark Newton, provided an update on the COHH school. He noted that the first year presented many challenges, but overall, it was a very good year for the children and the staff. Of the 15 children that began first grade, 12 of them have moved on to second grade and 3 are receiving remedial help in a repeat of the first grade. COHH once again held summer school for the incoming first graders and as well as for the new second grade class. A slide show of the school year and the activities was shown at the Gala.

COHH Gala Chairman, James L. Lipscomb, introduced to the audience two new staff members that will play critical roles for COHH going forward.  Jean Gabriel was introduced as the new Executive Administrator-Hinche. Jean will have overall responsibility for the operation of the orphanage and school as well as development of the COHH school building. Deborah Straughan was introduced as the new Executive Director. Deborah will have overall responsibility for the operations of COHH, with a particular focus on fundraising activities.

M. Scott Cooper and Debra Colletti were presented COHH Hope Awards for their longstanding support of COHH and its mission. Scott and Debra, husband and wife, have a strong background in civic activities. They have traveled across the nation each year to be in attendance at the COHH Galas. Will Frager has been a volunteer with COHH for over 5 years. He has worked extensively on the development of the school curriculum, recruited teachers and staff for the school and recruited the children that attend the COHH school. Will traveled from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to be on hand to receive his award.

The evening closed with a poignant keynote address by Zachary Carter. Mr. Carter noted the coincidences of events surrounding the evening that could not have been foreseen at the time he was asked to speak. He pointed to the fact that the president had just been re-elected and hurricane Sandy and a Nor’easter had just wreaked havoc on the East Coast. Then he noted that as bad as conditions were in the U.S., they would surely only be temporary while in Haiti they seem to persist without any meaningful solutions.

A video of the highlights of the 2012 Gala is at right.