New York, NY – On November 5, 2015, philanthropists, business leaders and child advocates came together for A Legacy Beyond Music, an event hosted by SOS Children’s Villages – USA (SOS-USA) to celebrate a $13 million transformative gift made by the Harry and Carol Goodman Trust. At the event, SOS – USA announced the first investment from the Goodman Trust, which will fund the initial phase of a four-year re-innovation project in Lagos, Nigeria that will make a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable children and families.
“With support from the Goodman Trust, we will integrate SOS families currently living in an SOS village into the wider community and expand SOS’s Community Outreach Programs to serve an additional 250 families and 1,000 children and youth,” announced Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS – USA.
The event was held at the Edison Ballroom in New York, NY and featured musical performances by Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Roberta Flack, and her godson Davelle Crawford, a talented pianist known as the “Piano Prince of New Orleans.” Attendees also heard from four inspirational SOS alumni: GebreEgziabher Gebre, Nathalie Nozile, and sisters Irene Bailey and N’dine Lockhart.
GebreEgziabher Gebre, an alumnus of SOS Children’s Villages – Ethiopia, lost both of his parents to the 1984-85 widespread famine that killed over a million people in Ethiopia. Gebre arrived severely malnourished to the SOS village in Mekelle where he was raised by an SOS Mother along with his biological brother. He went off to attend the SOS Herman Gmeiner School, an international college in Ghana. He later earned a full scholarship to study applied mathematics at Harvard.
“What is remarkable is that my story isn’t remarkable,” he told the audience. “There are so many other stories like mine because of these SOS Mothers and the loving family support they provide.”
Nathalie Nozile, an alumna of SOS Children’s Villages – Haiti, was taken to SOS after her father was no longer able to care for her and her two siblings. At SOS, Nozile excelled in school and went off to graduate from Penn State. She later graduated with honors from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and became a Jolie Pitt Foundation legal fellow. Today, she works as a children’s rights lawyers in Naples, Florida.
“I spent thirteen years at SOS and even to this day, I cannot go to Haiti without going ‘home’,” she said. “…to the village that is.”
Irene Bailey and N’dine Lockhart were both born in Dakar, Senegal to a German mother and Senegalese father. Due to unfortunate circumstances, Irene and N’dine were brought to Germany by their grandmother to be raised in an SOS Village. The sisters expressed their gratitude to SOS for helping them reach their full potential. Irene now works for a public consulting firm and N’dine is a wellness coach and chef.
“We owe our successful lives to SOS, as do tens of thousands of other children around the world. We are dedicated to providing many more children the same loving family and schooling that we were fortunate to have,” said Bailey.
At the end of the event, attendees were able to donate to SOS’s Children in Crisis Fund to help support children who are affected by poverty, conflict, disease and natural disasters. To date, the fund has raised over $110,000. Click here to donate to the fund.