Sandals Foundation

The Sandals Foundation

When staying at any resort for a week’s time, the kids and I tend to get to know a lot of the on-site employees. This trip to Beaches Turks and Caicos was no different. By far one of our favourite employees was a young man named Louciano who always had time for a chat and a hug from Charlie. In fact, our meals were often based around where he was working.

Beaches Resort

Like many of the employees at the resort, Louciano was a recent high school graduate who had been educated on the island. Through many conversations with him, I became quite intrigued about the Sandals Foundation and its role in education on the island.  The Sandals Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts, the parent company of Beaches, has as its mission a goal to invest in communities throughout the Caribbean by investing in education, environment, and community projects that improve people’s lives and preserve natural surroundings.

Sandals Foundation

But what does this really translate to for people like Louciano? Well, in the Turks and Caicos, the investment can be seen in schools at both elementary and high school levels. The Sandals Foundation not only invests in the schools but Beaches provides an internship program in the local high school which leads to permanent positions at the resort. In speaking with Louciano, he explained he had graduated from high school two years ago and was pleased with the progress he had made at the resort. After looking into the Sandals Foundation further, I expressed an interest in visiting the elementary school on the island that is sponsored by the Foundation. My request was met with an enthusiastic yes and yesterday morning, Will, Charlie and myself were invited to visit the school.

 Enid Capron School

In preparation for our visit, Will chose one of our books to donate and began practising to read to the class. Little did I know how incredible this visit would be for us all. We arrived at the school and were met by quite a few smiling children who rushed over to say hello.

Beaches

An Afternoon in Kindergarten

After meeting some of the kids, we were invited into the Kindergarten classroom to read to the children and answer questions. Will was so excited to read to the class and the kids were very grateful for the book we were leaving behind. When we were done reading, the kids had an opportunity to quiz Will and myself about life in Canada. We were all laughing and chatting and really enjoying the moment.

Donations From Travellers Through the Reading Road Trip

Beaches ResortsWhen the question period was over, we sadly said our goodbyes and headed to meet Rachel Taylor, the principal of the school. Miss Taylor proudly asked if she could show us the library and once I entered the room I was shocked by how large and diverse it was. She explained that each book in the library was donated by guests of Sandals and Beaches resorts as donations or as part of the Sandals Foundation Reading Road Trip.

 

The Reading Road Trip takes place every Thursday in Jamaica, Antigua, the Turks and Caicos, St. Lucia and Exuma in the Bahamas. Essentially, guests of the hotels pay $20 US which covers transportation, educational materials, and a donation to the Sandals Foundation. On the Road Trip, guest volunteer in literacy as we did and get to help work with the children at the school.

Education Through Travel

Will, Charlie, and I may not remember every moment of our vacation years from now but we will never forget how incredible it was to visit the school and meet and play with the children there. We definitely learnt more about the culture of the Island that day than at any point on the resort. As a mother, I was very grateful Beaches Resorts offered this option as a way to further their education in how different people around the live, eat and play while we were on vacation.

Sandals Foundation

Other Ways to Help While Traveling

Besides the Reading Road trip, there are many other ways travellers can help out including purchasing items from the gift shops at the resorts and participating in the Pack for a Purpose program. The program asks charities like the Sandals Foundation to list their projects and needs on the website. Then, travellers headed to the resorts can pack up to 5 pounds of supplies that are in need, like school supplies or clothing, and donate them at the resort. Since we had a washer and dryer in our room, see earlier Key West Village review, I was able to wash all the clothes my children would have outgrown by summer time here in Toronto and donate them to local children on the island.

Other even easier ways to donate include the option to give a donation of any monetary amount offered to each guest upon check-in at the resorts as well as the option to give through the Sandals Foundation website.

More About the Sandals Foundation

All administrative and management costs associated with the foundation are supported by Sandals Resorts International, meaning 100% of all the money raised goes directly into the schools, environmental projects and communities.

After having spent the day with Elanor, I can attest that the people I met or communicated with at the Sandals Foundation, including Heidi Clarke the Director of Programs at the Foundation and Adam Stewart, the CEO of Beaches and Sandals, are people who love what they do and are appreciated by the community. If you are headed to Sandals or Beaches in the near future, want to donate or just want to find out more, please visit www.sandalsfoundation.org for more information.


8 Comments on this post

  1. Wow! I really, really love this. Kudos to Sandals – impressive!

    wandering educators / Reply
  2. What an incredible way to give back while traveling the world. I love that you visited this school, and it’s these encounters and experiences which I believe make the most impact – these are the visits the children will remember long after they’ve graduated. I’m glad you had such a great time.

    Very happy to hear about the Sandal Foundation – so glad that resorts are now leading the way in contributing to their local communities and creating economic growth at grassroots levels.

    Thanks for the great read!

    Mapping Megan / Reply
  3. I really enjoyed reading this article. The Sandals Foundation sounds like a superb initiative, I’m thrilled to hear how they are encouraging their guests to give back to the communities that support their stay in paradise. I’ll be sure to look out for similar projects here on Barbados.

    Charli / Reply
  4. It’s great to learn that Sandal’s Resorts support their local communities and environment. We agree that interacting with locals can create some of the best memories of an entire trip. The next time we’re in the Caribbean, we’d love to check out some of Sandals’ environmental initiatives.

    Mary / Reply
  5. Amazing post. Thanks for sharing awareness of this incredible initiative, respect to Sandals for thinking it out and implementing it.

    The Crowded Planet / Reply
  6. What a great way to take travel to another level. So awesome that you were able to spend time checking out the school and meeting the kids. I can imagine how rewarding the experience was.

    Traveling Ted / Reply
  7. You’re my hero, Sarah.
    Period.

    The Hook / Reply
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