Haitian orphanage named after Lynn University student still standing after latest earthquake

No children hurt after powerful 7.2 quake strikes Haiti
Britney Gengel, Lynn University student killed in 2010 Haiti earthquake
Posted at 1:57 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 17:23:00-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Haitian orphanage with ties to South Florida is still standing, and no one was hurt following Saturday's devastating earthquake, according to the foundation's president.

The quake could be felt miles away, including at "Brit's Home," an orphanage for 66 children.

MORE: Here's how you can help after Haiti earthquake

The home was built in memory of Lynn University student Britney Gengel who was on a service trip in Haiti when she lost her life during the tragic 2010 earthquake.

Len Gengel, father of Britney Gengel who was killed in the 2010 Haiti earthquake
Len Gengel discusses his passion for helping Haiti following the death of his daughter more than a decade ago.

"We are an international nonprofit. We are an orphanage that was built in our daughter Britney's name," said Britney's father and Be Like Brit Foundation President Len Gengel.

The orphanage is 19,000 square feet and has 33 boys and 33 girls in recognition of the 33 days Brit was missing in the rubble at a collapsed hotel.

Britney Gengel's father was at the orphanage when Saturday's 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit the region.

Surveillance video shows children at the "Brit's Home" orphanage running for safety when they felt the ground shake.

"It was Saturday morning around 8:30 we were working building transitional housing," Len Gengel said. "The only way that I can describe it was like a wave, and it just came up and went down and came up and went down. And your reaction is to run but there's nowhere to run to because everything is moving."

The children and staff took refuge under a mango tree.

"[Len] was over at a construction site, and I knew there was construction going on, so I thought, 'What is going on there that they are shaking this building over here?' So when I stood up to go see what was going on, I felt the big wave," said Tatyana Jean-Louis, transition director for older teens at Brit's Home.

Tatyana Jean-Louis, transition director for older teens at Brit's Home orphanage in Haiti
Tatyana Jean-Louis describes the terrifying moments Saturday's earthquake struck Haiti.

Gengel said the orphanage's building was not structurally damaged.

"We are committed to raising the next generation of leaders in Haiti, and that is our focus. After two years of building the orphanage ... I realized the only way to truly help Haiti is from the inside out," Gengel said.