Edeyo | Help Them: Haiti Education Initiative

A (Unik) Birthday

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 By Melissa Wiley | June 28, 2012 | Velvet Roper


Allegedly, Kelly Killoren Bensimon can make you hot – and make you spend money. “Everyone should feel guilty if you don’t leave here without spending money,” she and her dapper co-host Boris Kodjoe said to a chic and tropically-clad audience gathered at last night’s fifth annual Edeyo Gives Hope Ball, at Lower East Side’s DL lounge.

Unik Ernest, founder of Edeyo (Eh-day-yo), an organization dedicated to improving the future of the children of Haiti by rebuilding schools and providing them with basic necessities on a day-to-day basis, definitely wasn’t about to keep the current state of Haiti on the DL.

Waitstaff festooned in bright blue and green Edeyo shirts sold colorful Edeyo merchandise and guided guests through various deluxe silent auction bids, among them trips to Aruba and Africa.

Playing what looked like long silver tubas, a band made its way upstairs to gather guests around a podium. Mr. Kodjoe invited the audience to step into the pool. It’s only about four inches deep, he encouraged everyone, you won’t need to swim. Guests stayed where they were, a few squeezing between the palm trees and perimeter of low-seated tables for a better look.

The boisterous crowd finally settled when Mr. Kodjoe threatened to close down the bar. Everyone put down their mojitos and lemonades, and Mr. Kodjoe proceeded to introduce Mr. Ernest.

Though hard to hear, we certainly got his point. “Happy birthday to everyone!” he said when presented with cake and candles. The night was definitely not about him (even though it was also his birthday): it was for Haiti, for giving back and creating awareness. It’s not something you can just put a band-aid on, he said.

Ms. Bensimon received a Edeyo Humanitarian Award for her many philanthropic efforts and Nigel Barker took home the Edeyo Hope Award for his humanitarianism and documentary work exposing the conditions in Haiti. A special video and live auction followed the presentations.

Guests meandered back into the blue-lit shadows of the palm-treed rooftop after the speech, looking out over a gray-cast Downtown, and all they seemed to be saying was “What eh day yo.”