Ukraine kids` home is memorial to town girl
The loss of 3-year old Brenna Engle in a fatal traffic accident nearly three years ago continues to inspire her parents` efforts to help underprivileged children in Ukraine...
The loss of 3-year old Brenna Engle in a fatal traffic accident nearly three years ago continues to inspire her parents` efforts to help underprivileged children in Ukraine.
Town of Poughkeepsie residents Donna and Richard Engle will spend the third anniversary of their daughter`s death on Feb. 13 at Brenna`s Home in Lutsk, Ukraine.
"We`re really just trying to promote some awareness of what we`re doing," Richard Engle said.
In the city of Lutsk, there are many children living on the streets. Some have abusive and alcoholic parents or relatives unable to properly care for them.
Five orphans live at Brenna`s Home. The home is walking distance from the Tabitha Children`s Program, which provides local children a daily hot meal and opportunities to participate in educational and recreational programs.
"For a lot of kids it`s the only meal they get all day," Richard Engle said.
On Feb. 13, 2005, Richard and Donna Engle were traveling in Blooming Grove, Pa., when a tractor-trailer slammed into the rear of their passenger van.
Brenna, who was in the rear seat, died shortly after the collision. Her parents sustained minor injuries.
"You never get over it, especially coming off the holidays," Richard Engle said Wednesday.
Immediately after their youngest daughter`s death, the Engles established the Brenna Engle Memorial Scholarship Fund. This provided financial assistance to students at Brendon Montessori School who had trouble paying the tuition.
Brenna was in her first year at the independent school in the Town of LaGrange when she died.
The Engles became interested in the Tabitha Children`s Program in Ukraine through a couple they know who attended services at Hyde Park Baptist Church. The church supports the overseas program.
The Engles gradually shifted their efforts from the scholarship fund to helping the underprivileged children in Ukraine. They have established a nonprofit foundation that entirely supports Brenna`s Home. The Engles are seeking donations to do more for the children there.
The couple plans to travel to Lutsk again in July to start a summer camp for the kids.
The Engles said besides raising funds for the less-fortunate kids in Lutsk, they hope publicity about their efforts will send a message: Although the death of a child is tragic, parents can move beyond their grief to help others.
Donations can be made to the home for underprivileged children in Lutsk, Ukraine, by check or credit card. Checks can be made out and mailed to The Brenna Engle Foundation, 3 Albert Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603.