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Concert proceeds to build school

Deborah Ince, Staff Writer

Published: Thu Nov 10, 2011

Thursday night the Give Haiti Hope club is hosting a benefit concert for the Haiti Outreach program. Titled “Breaking Ground at Southbound,” the event will raise money to help a primary school in Boucan-Carré, Haiti.

“Because it’s the foundation that children need for education where their knowledge begins,” Diamond Rayborn, freshman in agriculture and club member, said.

A volunteer non-profit organization, the Haiti Outreach Program has established a hospital, a clinic and several schools within Haiti over the past 12 years. Based in Knoxville, the Haiti Outreach Program was officially established in 1999 at Sacred Heart Cathedral and has extended to include many different schools, businesses and churches around the area.

“A unique aspect about the Haiti Outreach Program is that since its inception, it has always been a 100-percent volunteer organization,” Margaret Sharbel, advertising chair and events coordinator for Give Haiti Hope, said. “We as Give Haiti Hope club feel comfortable donating our funds to Haiti Outreach Program because we know that every penny will be spent for Haiti, not paying overhead or salaries for people in Knoxville.”

The Give Haiti Hope club continually works closely with the organization, raising money and awareness about the country and the needs of its people. It says that the money raised from the benefit concert will have a large impact on Haitian students.

“For only $100, the Haiti Outreach Program can support tuition, school supplies and uniforms for a primary student for one school year,” club president Katie Riley said.

Hosted at Southbound in the Old City, the benefit concert will feature artists such as Graham Colton, The Sweetest Sleep by Jared Henderson and The Mountain Kings. Student tickets are $7 and general admission tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at the event’s Eventbrite page, on the Pedestrian Mall or at the event. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m.

“First of all, the simple entertainment value of the event will be huge!” Riley said. “There aren’t many chances for students to see an artist of Graham Colton’s caliber in Knoxville and certainly not for only $7.”

Give Haiti Hope has hosted several events over the past year to raise money and awareness for the Haitian village of Boucan-Carré, including a fashion show hosted in February. The concert on Thursday will be a first for the club.

“The entire club has been working hard for the past couple of months to plan the concert,” Sharbel said. “It has been a collective process to make this event a successful and fun one.”

The February fashion show and the upcoming concert will finalize the club’s annual spring and fall semester events, and the club encourages students to attend both events.

“As a service club, we want everyone to feel included and feel like they are a special part of the great work we are doing in association with the Haiti Outreach Program,” Sharbel said.

Students can learn more about the student-led Give Haiti Hope club and about the Haiti Outreach Program by visiting the club’s website and Facebook page. Meetings for the UT chapter of the club are held every Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. in HSS Room 566.

“Of course we also think people should come (to the concert) because it is an amazing cause, and their small contribution will make an incredible impact,” Riley said. “Coming to this concert is allowing you to take part in giving a young student in Haiti a chance to succeed.”