On January 12, 2010, a devastating 7.0 earthquake hit the Caribbean nation of Haiti, near Port-au-Prince.
While billions of dollars have been donated to the country, the rebuilding process has been slow, and thousands of natives are still homeless.
On the two-year anniversary of the quake, the Slippery Rock University Athletes for Forgotten Angels group traveled to Haiti for a week to visit orphanages and help with the cleanup process.
This is the second trip to Haiti that the student-athletes have taken. The group also traveled to New Orleans in 2009 to help with cleanup after Hurricane Katrina, and St. Lucia in 2010 to help organize sport clinics for children.
The Forgotten Angels group took 15 large boxes of donated athletic equipment and school supplies.
Junior Sarah Cadwallader, a member of the women’s volleyball team and president of Forgotten Angels, said that the time they spent with the children was the best part of the trip to Haiti.
“The most rewarding experience is knowing we made an impact in the lives of the kids,” Cadwallader said. “We’ve all heard from them since we’ve been back, so we know that we have relationships with them even though we’re in different countries.”
Senior Alyssa Barrett, a member of the women’s soccer team, said that spending time with the people of Haiti and knowing they enjoyed the time they spent with them was the greatest feeling.
“The highlight of the trip for me was the day we started a game of beach soccer – Haitians versus Americans,” Barrett said. “Even though they beat us, it was so much fun playing together.”
Barrett said the saddest part of the trip was leaving all of the new friends they had made in Haiti.
“The hardest part was definitely saying goodbye and hearing the kids ask when we’ll be back again,” Barrett said.
Also making the trip to Haiti with Cadwallader and Barrett was Teresa Elliott, Emer Flatley, Dana O’Neill, Alli Fleagle, Michael Formento, Emily Lobdell, Jessica Shroyer, and Kalli Wakefield, along with head women’s soccer coach, Noreen Herlihy, and assistant women’s soccer coach, Ashley Martin.