Singer Marc Anthony inaugurated Friday the construction of a modern orphanage that will provide a home for dozens of children in the eastern province of La Romana.

"I'm super-excited, this is the beginning of a great project and we hope very soon to have the facilities ready for these kids," Anthony told a press conference at the contruction site.

The project is a joint undertaking by the singer and businessman Henry Cardenas on behalf of the Children of Christ Orphanage.

"We have to help these kids, many of them have a lot of talent but if it isn't given a chance it could be lost," said a genuinely moved Anthony, who was accompanied by his girlfriend, the Venezuelan model Shannon de Lima.

The singer and actor seemed to make an effort to hold back the tears when 12-year-old Miguel Angel Gomez thanked him.

"Thanks for remembering that we're human beings too...thanks to everyone here for being with us on an afternoon that is so wonderful and important for us...may God bless you," the boy said.

The orphanage will be built on 10,000 sq. meters (2 1/2 acres) donated by the Central Romana sugar corporation and will include a kitchen, laundry, dining room, library, chapel, classrooms, dormitories, teachers' living room, workshop area, business center and a baseball diamond.

The first stage with room to house some 90 youngsters is expected to be finished by next September. EFE