Actor Boris Kodjoe and reality star and model Kelly Bensimon hosted the 5th annual Edeyo Gives Hope Ball at DL on the lower east side last Wednesday, June 27th. The stars came out in full force to support the Edeyo Foundation, a nonprofit supporting education in Haiti for children orphaned by the earthquake, primarily from the town of Bel Air.

The evening began with cocktails courtesy and opening remarks by Kodjoe and Bensimon. Philanthropist and founder Unik Ernest, then took the stage as the keynote speaker for the foundation followed by Nigel Barker, the night’s honoree whose latest documentary film “Dreams Are Not Forgotten” debuts this weekend.

Bensimon said she was there to celebrate Unik and all his amazing accomplishments: “he’s not only raising money for a school but to feed the children of Haiti, they’re amazing kids, I’ve met them many times, I’ve been down there twice all over Haiti and it’s a life-changing experience. If you work you should be able to give, anyone should find something they believe in, stick to it, and give as long as you possibly can. This is the cause for me.”

The DLs rooftop was paced as Tyson Beckford, Terrance Howard, Nicole Ari Parker, Wyclef Jean and others made their way to the event.

Unik, who shut down the bar during his toast to make the night more about the cause than the party said, “We have a wonderful crowd tonight, and we’re really hoping to raise money to change the face of Haiti. I’m happy to welcome people from Houston, LA, and NYC. This is what I do for a living, my life is about bringing people together, I’ve been doing that for a long time, it’s a lifestyle. But tonight’s not all about glamor; it’s about giving back”

Kodjoe also added, “The group that pays the highest price in natural disasters is the kids, and any cause that has to do with kids moves me because they are the future, so any times kids are in danger or need of help I’m a huge advocate for doing whatever is necessary to help.”

Finally, the night’s honoree, seemingly camera shy at first, photographer Nigel Barker spoke directly to the younger generation when he said, “there are so many causes out there, there’s something you can find you are passionate about, whatever the thing is activate yourself, don’t just read about it and think you’re too cool for school. If you really want to do something cool, make a difference, and for me, in Haiti, the people around there are not looking to be helped, but to be empowered. My film “Dreams are not forgotten” shows how Haitians in need aren’t looking for a handout but to make the world a better place, and that to me is refreshing.”

The night ended with a VIP after party and a toast to the Edeyo Foundation as they hit the night’s fundraising goal.

– Darrel

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