HANA is a nonprofit nursing organization that has been in existence for the past eleven years. Each year, HANA organizes an Annual Scholarship Fundraising and Awards Gala as a cornerstone of our efforts to collect funds for nursing students here and abroad. This year and for the first time, HANA has decided to raise the bar by increasing the target goal of our scholarship recipients from 13 to 20 in order to maximize this initiative and reach more students in the Hudson Valley region and abroad.

This year and for the first time, we gave three scholarships at Ramapo High School. One student wrote a thank you letter to HANA in which she promised that we will never be disappointed; she stated that she will use the money to buy books and she plans to stay in touch.” One of the college students in particular touched us deeply when her name was called by HANA to receive the Claudette Colimon Scholarship Award. She hesitated at first to come to the podium. At the end of the ceremony she stated to us, “I was not sure you really called my name because I am not Haitian.”

Yet even though she was not Haitian, the fact that she applied to a HANA scholarship reveals something about us. It reveals that people are watching HANA. It reveals we are having an influence both inside and outside the Haitian community. It reveals that we are changing lives for the better.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are some of the reasons members of HANA of Hudson Valley, New York are determined to work hard by raising funds, by being visible in our community, and by making a difference in the lives of others. And, as a token of appreciation, HANA has decided to roll out the red carpet for all of you tonight in order to celebrate your unceasing support and your commitment to make this place a better world.

I became the President of this chapter on December 29, 2018. The new Board and I swore in on January 22, 2019.  Shortly thereafter, we sprang into action to continue the work that was done before us and to uphold the mission and vision of the organization. Our work is providing a platform for nurses to unite and to become relevant to the health and welfare of the community here and abroad.

Tonight, should be also called the “night of leaders.” We choose to honor people who have broken barriers in the health care field, particularly the nursing profession, the tourism industry, and the priesthood.  Let there be no doubt that tonight is a special night in honor of all of you. We salute each and every one of you. Let’s celebrate. Thank you for coming, and we look forward to see you again.


Marlyn Lestage-Laforest CNM, NP, MA, MPH, RN

HANA of Hudson Valley, New York 2019-2021 President