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This Month From Cliff- August 22, 2013

President’s Report

August 22, 2013

Cliff L. Wood

It Takes A Village - A Community

It Takes Access - It Takes Opportunities

Rockland Community College

Suffern, New York

August 2013


Jovins-Lin Dorestan

Associate of Arts

Math and Science

MTS Honors

Phi Theta Kappa

International Honor Society

Phi Sigma Omicron


Dr. Cliff Wood,

This is Jovins.  By receiving my diploma from the MTS program today, I would like to send you this email to say thank you to you and all your staff including Elissa Silverstein and Elizabeth Solages for all your support towards me.  There is no way that I will be able to achieve this without your help.  Thus, I’m very grateful for that.  I would like to tell you that it was not a waste of my money and time.

Thanks to GOD who put all of you on my way to help me, I’m very proud of the success I’ve made since I came to the United States.  I’m very happy and look forward to start class at City College in two weeks from now.  I got accepted at their Engineering program, and I will start taking classes for my bachelor in Civil Engineering.

Jovins Dorestan

Jovins Dorestan

In the Beginning


I first learned about Jovins from an article in the January 12, 2011 edition of The Journal News.  The article told his story as follows…


“Jovins-Lin Dorestan, a former Port-au-Prince police officer who lost his left leg in the earthquake, faces an uncertain future.


A year ago today, Dorestan was sitting in the Port-au-Prince home he shared with his parents when the earth shook and the building next-door collapsed, pinning his left leg under a large piece of concrete.


Neighbors pulled the concrete off of him, but that was just the start of a 1,500-mile odyssey that has landed the soft-spoken 26-year-old in a spare, one-bedroom apartment in a Haverstraw village neighborhood dotted by bodegas and Spanish-language storefronts, waiting for federal immigration authorities to grant him a visa.


For four days, Dorestan lay on the floor of a partially collapsed Port-au-Prince medical facility before being flown out of Haiti by the Ramapo Haitian Task Force.  He was treated for his injuries at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern and fitted with a prosthetic leg at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw, where he continues to get medical care.


After being released in March, Dorestan enrolled at the Rockland Board of Cooperative Educational Services, where he now takes an English-as-a-second-language course.


Dorestan said he wants to stay in the U.S., apply to Rockland Community College and earn a degree in engineering.


Eventually, he’d like to return to Haiti and help rebuild.”


Jovins comes to RCC


In January 2011, I received a call from my good friend at Good Samaritan Hospital, the  wonderful Sister Fran Gorsuch who does amazing work in the community for Catholic Charities.  She brought Jovins to me, and I was able to provide a President’s Scholarship.  Thus Jovins began his impressive career at RCC as a student in our Honors Program and a respected campus leader.  His activities included becoming president of our Haitian Students Club and membership in Phi Theta Kappa.  Even though he began with ESL, he distinguished himself and graduated in two years.


The Journey Continues



Jovins’ journey continued as he entered City College in New York to pursue his college degree in Engineering.

Opening of 'Forms and Colors of Haiti' art exhibition

Sculptor Randolph San Millan and Artist Patricia Brintle along with the Haitian Heritage Committee at the Opening of “Forms and Colors of Haiti” Art Exhibition in the RCC Technology Center.

Pictured left to right: Sculptor Randolph San Millan, Karina Joseph, Elizabeth Solages, Myriam Nader-Salomon, Jovins-Lin Dorestan, Elissa Silverstein, Bibiane Doine, and Artist Patricia Brintle. (missing from photo is Gale Latkovic)

“Once more, I thank you and I ask you to always keep me in your prayers.  The task ahead will be tougher as all of you know, but GOD is the provider.  He will always put other people in my way to help me as the case with Sister Fran from Good Samaritan Hospital.  She already found me some money to pay for the tuition, and told me that there is more coming to help me with books and other stuff.  May God Bless you all and always give you this good heart to help other people who need your help.”

Jovins with Sister Fran