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FIU students work to send shoes to Haiti

The university’s Art of Giving Project will decorate shoes to send to orphanages in Haiti, part of the project’s ongoing effort to help children in need across the world.

By Rodolfo Roman
Special to the Herald
Florida International University is stepping up for the victims affected by last year’s deadly earthquake in Haiti.

The university’s art and art history departments have launched The Art of Giving Project, or TAG, an annual campaign to help children in the world’s neediest countries.

This week, the project will host several events including one in honor of Haitian flag day on Wednesday. FIU fraternities and sororities will join TAG team members and the Miami Heat dancers for an event from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Institute of Black Family Life, a non-profit agency offering a pre-trial diversion program for adolescent offenders, 16405 NW 25th Ave., in Opa-locka.

At the free event, volunteers will design shoes using paint and markers, which will be donated to Haitian orphanages.

In Haiti, flag day is a major national holiday and serves as a symbol of freedom. TAG was a result of the institution’s Art Department’s Professor Jacek Kolaskinski. He came up with the concept after developing an arts project for his undergraduate students. The purpose of the TAG project is to involve the community using art and culture in an effort to help those in need.

“This mission includes having our faculty creating opportunities that will allow our students to discover new knowledge about specific subject matter but to do so by encouraging our students to approach learning in a new style of global learning that will lead promote the concept of global citizenship,” Kelly Brady-Rumble, administrative coordinator for the TAG Project, wrote in an e-mail.

Last year, the massive earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12 killing more than 200,000 and left more than a million homeless.

The TAG team is made up of volunteer artists comprised of students, faculty, athletes, and staff from FIU. Students from local elementary and high schools, youth centers and cultural organizations also serve part of the group.

This year, the group will dedicate their time to creating the shoes. In future years, students to vote on projects.

Other organizations also have helped coordinate events, like FIU’s Graham Center Art Gallery, the Frost Art Museum, the Centro Cultural Español, the Overtown Youth Center and the Little Haiti Cultural Center .

TAG has already hosted several events. Earlier this year, the project collected over 700 pairs of shoes to send to children ages 1 through 17 years-old. Some of the shoes have already been donated to Rose Mina de Diegue Orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The remaining shoes, which will be worked on Wednesday, will be taken to three other orphanages in Haiti.

For information on upcoming events call 305-348-2531.

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