April 2010, Volume 14, Number 2

Features

Honors college student awarded for humanitarian efforts

Stephanie Del Pino

When MDC Kendall Campus Honors College student Stephanie Del Pino learned last year that some children in Haiti eat clay to quell their hunger, she sprung into action. More than 900 service hours later, Del Pino had successfully spearheaded the college’s first All-Nighter for Haiti, held in 2009 on National World Food Day.

As a result of her efforts, Del Pino was chosen as an All-USA First Team Member of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Her selection to the All-USA First Team was featured in an exclusive article in the nationally renowned USA Today.

All-Nighter for Haiti was organized by Students Aiding International Development (SAID), founded by Del Pino and Amanda Balarezo, a Wolfson Campus Honors College student. SAID’s mission is to combat poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean. The event, which was created in collaboration with Food for the Poor, raised more than $23,000 for the international relief organization, which helps build tilapia farms and plant fruit trees in Haiti, among other projects. All-Nighter for Haiti featured performers and guest speakers, belly dancing and salsa lessons, face painting, chalk art and food, among other activities.

“Students were sponsored to stay up all night to raise awareness and funds for sustainable projects in Haiti,” Del Pino said.

Del Pino‘s tremendous commitment won her other awards as well. She recently received a 2009 Excellence in Service Award by the Florida Campus Compact (FL/CC), a coalition of more than 50 colleges and universities committed to promoting community service, service-learning and civic engagement. This is the third consecutive year that an MDC student will win the organization’s top service award in the Community/State College category. Del Pino also is slated to receive the MDC President’s Volunteer Service Award this year.

“Stephanie has immersed herself in understanding the stark realities of poverty in Haiti and dedicated herself to making a difference,” said Joshua B. Young, director of the Center for Community Involvement at MDC. “She knows she can do anything and has made a lifetime commitment to service.”

— SA


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