In many ways, Britney Gengel from Rutland Massachusetts was a typical 19-year-old young woman, but her humor, passion and deep sense of caring for those less fortunate made her memorable to all who met her. It was her compassion for others that brought Britney to Haiti on January 11, 2010, just a day before the catastrophic earthquake that claimed an estimated 230,000 lives. Britney had spent the day visiting Haitian orphanages in Port-Au-Prince and just a few hours later, Britney, three of her fellow students, and two Lynn University professors lost their lives in the rubble of the Hotel Montana. Britney was missing for 33 days before her remains were recovered. Fortunately, Britney’s dream did not die with her. Only hours before the earthquake, Britney sent a text message to her family that read: “They love us so much and everyone is so happy. They love what they have and they work so hard to get nowhere, yet they are all so appreciative. I want to move here and start an orphanage myself.”
These forty words would sustain Britney’s family through the tragedy and, ultimately, serve as the driving force behind the establishment of the Be Like Brit Foundation and the decision to build an orphanage in Grand Goâve for the children of Haiti.
Today, the 19,000 sq. ft earthquake proof home, shaped in the letter B for Brit, stands strong as a beacon of hope for the people of Haiti. Today there are 66 beautiful children living and thriving at Be Like Brit. All of our children have a safe home and bed to sleep in each night, three healthy meals a day, a quality education and a loving family. We also welcome dozens of Britsionary volunteers to BLB each month who are helping our surrounding community in Haiti by building homes for families still living in temporary shelters, providing feeding programs and so much more. We welcome you to learn more about us by visiting our website at BeLikeBrit.org and on Facebook at Facebook.com/belikebrit
Our commitment is to continue the compassion of Britney Gengel by serving the children of Haiti through sustaining a safe, nurturing home rooted in the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love while developing a sense of social responsibility, community involvement, and unconditional love.