State University of New York Institute of Technology
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Native of Haiti looks to support relief efforts, benefit dance Feb. 5 in Campus Center

A member of the SUNYIT nursing faculty who was born in Haiti is working to support relief efforts following the Caribbean nation’s devastating earthquake. Proceeds from a Feb. 5 benefit dance to quake relief.

“I was lucky because many of my family members were not in Haiti when the earthquake hit,” said Maria Roche-Dean, an instructor in the School of Nursing & Health Systems. “Of those in my family who were in Haiti at the time, two were lost but my cousin is ok, thankfully. My friends there are doing well considering the circumstances.”

Roche-Dean moved to the U.S. at age 10, graduating from Utica’s Proctor High School, Mohawk Valley Community College and SUNYIT, before joining the faculty in fall 2009.

“Because of my background I have always had an interest in humanitarian work. I began doing that through fund raising with the Iota Delta Nursing Honor Society of which I am the current chapter president,” Roche-Dean said. “Last year I learned about a school in Haiti that provided the only bachelor’s degree program in nursing in the country, I have been communicating with the dean of that school to determine how the honor society can support them and we are still in the process of doing that.”

While supporting the nursing program’s humanitarian efforts in Zimbabwe and Brazil, Roche-Dean says she wants to help educate the public about Haiti: “the daily challenges of life that were common before the earthquake, and how they have compounded now.”

Roche-Dean is encouraging the public to support all Haitian relief efforts, including an upcoming event at SUNYIT. All the proceeds from a planned February 5 benefit dance in the Campus Center gym will go to the United Methodist Committee on Relief to aid the quake victims. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students, $5 for children under 10 and will be sold only at the door. The 8-11 p.m. event will feature entertainment by the 17-member Stage Music Big Band, a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle.







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