In January of 2010, 22-year-old Christine Gianacaci of Hopewell Township, New Jersey, and several of her classmates from Lynn University, traveled to Haiti on a mission of hope; to help children and to feed the poor.
When a massive earthquake struck on January 12th, the Hotel Montana in Port-Au-Prince collapsed and Christine, along with 3 other students and two professors, were killed.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of all those who died that day. They each represented the qualities of kindness, caring, giving and compassion that are so desperately needed in our world today.
While these six wonderful people are gone, the love and energy they created in their lives is still very much alive.
The Christine’s Hope for Kids Foundation was created to continue the legacy and generous spirit of Christine Gianacaci, and her desire to help underprivileged children have an opportunity for a better life.
The mission of Christine’s Hope for Kids is to help less fortunate children; and to support local community agencies to work with and benefit children in need. Whether we are supporting children to attend camp, holding book fairs, or packing pajama bags for children in shelters, we believe that it is the little things that can and do make the greatest impact in a child’s life.
The Foundation strives not only to raise money, but also to teach and communicate the idea that every person can make a difference. In keeping with this positive concept, the Foundation hosts school events and programs that allow young students to directly help less fortunate kids in our own communities.
Christine’s Hope for Kids partners with other local agencies to make a myriad of activities available to children regardless of their circumstances, allowing kids to just be kids. Via activities such as summer camps, sports programs, swimming lessons, music, art and photography classes, the Foundation looks to further Christine’s legacy and maintain momentum in the years to come.
Christine’s Hope for Kids was founded to continue the legacy of the late Christine Gianacaci, a 22-year-old Lynn University student hailing from Hopewell. Christine had a passion for helping children in need and was fulfilling that passion on a January 2010 mission to Haiti when her life was tragically taken by a catastrophic earthquake. Her determined pursuit of spreading hope to children led us to found the organization in her honor.
Christine – A Life Of Kindness
Throughout her short but very full life Christine Gianacaci had one true passion: to help children in any way she could. It was a passion she felt deeply. It was born, in part, from her own struggles as a child.
As a young girl Christine was extremely social and outgoing; so much so that she soon earned the nickname “the mayor.” If a new child came into the classroom Christine would be the first one to go up and introduce herself, and then take the initiative to introduce the new student to everyone else. She had a natural love for people, and a natural kindness and positive energy that was hard to contain.
But at age 11, life changed dramatically for Christine when she was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. Suddenly she couldn’t do many of the things the other kids would do. She couldn’t go to the movies, go to church, or other quiet places because of the constant ticking.
And, of course, there was the teasing and ridicule from other children, who never quite understand how much their words can hurt.
Christine seemed to go into her shell, becoming quiet, shy and withdrawn. But inside she was developing a pure understanding of the power of kindness and giving; an understanding that would soon bring new meaning and direction to her life.
If she was teased she didn’t get angry or resentful but, instead, tried to understand. It became her signature to always be generous and always give, even if nothing was given in return.
Towards the end of high school, the Tourette’s began to calm down, allowing Christine to enroll at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. It was at Lynn University that all of Christine’s wisdom and experiences started to come together, and her life of giving and helping children began to take shape.
In the spring of her sophomore year Christine took her first mission trip to Jamaica with a group called Food for the Poor. She came back a different person. It changed her life.
She talked about the children, working in the schools and helping in the orphanages where she saw the poorest of the poor. She helped build houses, feed sick children, and deliver clothes and toys. It gave her a whole new appreciation for her family and her life. She began to take account of all she had, and all she had taken for granted. It changed her. All she talked about was going back.