Wearing blue shirts that read “Failure is not an option,” Lenny and Lin Crispinelli have continued to build their daughter’s legacy, erecting a second school in Jamaica with the nonprofit Food For The Poor. Energized by the fast-paced construction, a group of 33 friends and family members discussed plans for a third school before ‘Steph’s Place II’ in Clarendon, Jamaica, was even finished.
“We’ve got to keep this going,” said Lin, at the work site of Steph’s Place II. “Everybody is so excited – it has been a wonderful experience. It has helped us so much in our healing.”
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Jenna Constantino read the poem she wrote for Stephanie’s memorial service in 2010.
The poem read, in part:
“We celebrated her life in the beginning,
We are celebrating her life now,
But Stephanie celebrated life in the middle,
And here’s a glimpse into how…..
She loved her family deeply,
She didn’t take life too seriously,
She wasn’t afraid to be different,
She broadened her horizons, and
She cared for those in need.”
With the school completed in just two days, the group had plenty of time to follow in Stephanie’s footsteps. Group members fed lunch to handicapped children, created arts and crafts with AIDS-affected children, shot soccer goals with orphaned boys, and cared for at-risk girls.
“The experience we had in Jamaica will stay in our hearts forever,” emailed Teri Palotta, to the group. “We didn't know Stephanie, but after this trip we can see and feel what a wonderful and special young woman she was. It was a true pleasure to meet, work, and spend time with each of you.”
Stephanie’s family and friends also had the opportunity to visit ‘Steph’s Place,’ the school they built last year in Race Course, Clarendon, on the school’s Career Day. Students dressed as nurses, teachers, businessmen and military officers to welcome the visitors.
“You could feel the pride and joy the community had, and that is what allowed us to see the difference the school would make in their lives,” said Nikki Fantauzzi, who had been with Stephanie in Haiti on a Food For The Poor mission trip when the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck in January 2010.
“We are trying to give children in this area an opportunity for a safe learning environment, so they have the opportunity to have a fulfilling education,” Lin said.
To help continue Stephanie’s mission, please make checks payable to Food For The Poor and include the special source code “SC# 80749” to accurately route your donation to the school-building effort. Donations can be mailed to Food For The Poor, 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073. All gifts are tax-deductible.
Food For The Poor, the third-largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.
For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
Jennifer Leigh Oates
Food For The Poor
954-427-2222 x 6054