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New service club focuses on Honduras

Carly Landon | Thursday, September 24, 2009

Siblings Michael and Tricia Daly recently had the unique experience of helping to form an organization giving Honduran orphans and their community local access to state of the art surgical care through the work of their father, Dr. Peter Daly, who graduated from the University in 1982.

Now they are giving the Notre Dame community the opportunity to get involved through their new club, Friends of the Orphans (FOTO).

“My brother and I went to Honduras because our parents wanted to expose us to third world poverty and we ended up having a life changing experience,” Saint Mary’s senior and FOTO co-founder Tricia Daly said. “Through FOTO we wanted to instill that service within the students and share with everyone else here what he have learned and experienced.”

The club will function as one of the main fundraising arms for Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos International (NPH), a Christian mission that provides a permanent family and home for orphaned children living in conditions of extreme poverty.

It will also raise awareness for the group and give students an opportunity to volunteer at one of the nine NPH orphanage sites throughout the Americas.

“These children grow up in a loving family; a very, very large loving family, and the first time you are welcomed, you become their brother or sister forever. I consider NPH as my family, and I want to expand this family by including Notre Dame and its extraordinary students,” Club President and Co-Founder junior Michael Daly said.

“FOTO is my way of showing how much I love and care about my brothers and sisters at NPH, by sharing with everyone the good news of God’s present-day miracle, NPH, ” he said.

Michael and Tricia embarked on the process of getting this club founded two years ago, when they were freshmen and sophomores, respectively.

With the help of Mary Kate Havlik, Coordinator of Student Programs at the Office of Student Activities, and club treasurer Michael Baer, a junior, the Dalys began working on forming a constitution, planning future events, contacting the International Friends of the Orphans and organizing future service learning programs to the orphanages. 

Finally, after two successful learning trips where Notre Dame students visited the NPH orphanages and a two-year battle to gain club status, they got their answer and FOTO got its club certification.

“I feel that when more and more students experience the amazing love and power of the orphanages the news will spread like wildfire through the student body. We have already obtained many supporters, but I know we can have more,” Baer said. “By next year, I want the whole campus to know and want to serve through FOTO.”

Tricia Daly echoes Baer’s hope for further involvement.

“I would really like to encourage Notre Dame alumni to get involved,” Tricia said. “FOTO’s mission can be achieved through any help the Notre Dame community has to offer.”

FOTO saw a promising turnout last night at its first meeting in Geddes Hall’s Center for Social Concerns. The Dalys, along with FOTO, invite all students to get involved through donations and volunteering their time.