Agents of Beach Bum Vacation and philanthropic volunteers launched Beach Bum Cares about two years ago in a mission to provide children & their families aid, relief, & educational supplies. While traveling, we always make an effort to visit a school, orphanage or other institution in need. During our latest trip to the Bahamas at the beginning of September we had the opportunity to team up with the Sandals Foundation and visit the Bahamas AIDS Foundation in Nassau.
For two and a half years the Bahamas AIDS Foundation has been offering a program which provides assistance to pre-teens, adolescents and their families whose lives have been impacted by HIV/AIDS. Currently, they are working with 30 students and by extension their families for a reach of over 100 people. Their program ensures medical adherence, improvement in school attendance and GPA and a better quality of life inclusive of goal setting and attainment.
The outreach program does not have a graduation period, however as students progress from one grade level to the next, the dynamics of support they receive from the program may change. For example, students begin receiving help with grade level subjects and progress to assistance with national examinations, work skills and training inclusive of interviewing techniques, completing job applications and adhering to dress codes.
On September 4th we arranged a back to school party where we served lunch, donated supplies and played fun games 🙂 We donated school and teaching supplies including a laptop which came just in time as the one they were using had just broken, medical supplies (this is always important as it’s so expensive on the islands) and of course we brought candy! The kids were so excited for the gum and would playfully fight over it. We know to bring more next time!
With 24 agents contributing, the amount of supplies we were able to donate was quite overwhelming, totaling over $700.00 in value!
It’s a blessing to be able to give back and make these visits a part of our travels. With combined efforts we know we can make a tremendous difference in so many lives. Seeing the joy that such simple gifts brought to those children is something we won’t soon forget.
We’d love your help in raising funds to provide aid, relief and educational supplies to our partner schools or organizations! If you are interested in participating in a donation trip while you are traveling please let us know and we can help you set it up!
It is a unique and fantastic opportunity for Beach Bum Vacation to give back to the communities that provide our clients and us amazing destinations to visit.
The initial travel planning vision typically consists of your choice/dream destination, flights, a resort or hotel, the room, airport shuttle services & taxes. “What else is there to think about? We’re done, right? I mean I’ve just gotta lose weight, shop for new clothes and pack!” So this is yet another reason why consulting a travel professional will rescue you & your precious time away! You truly have no idea how much more there is to consider in order to get the most out of your travel experience until you speak to someone who has been there, done that, on a multitude of occasions. Someone like your friendly, FREE, Beach Bum Travel Concierge!
Let’s start with the flight; you always want to check to see how much additional first or business class is. Traveling in comfort and luxury with more legroom, receiving attentive, personalized service, complimentary beverages/food, first on and off the aircraft, often times complimentary newspapers, headphones, blankets & pillows, and a movie is undoubtedly a bonus. Not to mention, you feel important! If its above your price range don’t forget to ask the ticket counter agent at time of check in; many times the airlines will release seats at the ticket counter for much less than the cost of pre-paying to actually reserve first or business class seats.
Airport shuttle services; did you know you can upgrade to a nonstop transfer shuttle, or even better; a private, nonstop shuttle directly to your resort from the airport? The typical airport transportation service that’s included with your package will more than likely be shared by many other travelers and will make several stops before reaching your resort or hotel. You will find this annoying, and it will delay the start of your vacation which can be very frustrating. Ask your travel professional the cost to upgrade to a private, nonstop transfer, roundtrip. It doesn’t cost that much more. It’s worth every penny, and will save you time & aggravation.
Regardless of what anyone says the view from your room is important. “We won’t be in the room anyway” is a good way to try and justify not spending the extra little bit of money to upgrade to a nice view. We go on vacation to see beautiful scenery; turquoise waters, burnt orange & red fiery skies, powder white beaches… Don’t sell yourself short & be stuck in the back of the resort with no view, or worse; an unsightly view of a la parking lot! It truly can make or break your once a year getaway or honeymoon. No one wants a noisy, beat up, run down, smelling room with a terrible view. Do not cheap out on the room, your accommodations are more of an integral part of your travel experience than you may initially realize.
Now that you’ve got yourself set up with the very best flights, room and airport shuttle services let’s take this getaway from good to great, from nice to the ultimate! It wouldn’t be an ultimate getaway if you didn’t have some amazing moments in time to share with your friends & family, moments that have taken your breath away, moments that have created everlasting special memories for you to treasure always. Here are some ideas to put the icing on your vacation/honeymoon; book a couple of tours/excursions during your stay such as zip lining, swim with the dolphins, feed a stingray, bicycle through a waterfall, climb a waterfall, horseback ride on the beach, take a helicopter tour, visit a local school or orphanage (Beach Bum CARES will facilitate this for you)… just to name a few. Don’t forget to treat yourself to the spa; you’re supposed to pamper yourself while you’re away! Do NOT feel guilty! Relax and Enjoy!
In December 2011, volunteers with Beach Bum CARES set out on a journey to Jamaica to make a difference, change lives, and walk a small path to greater things; and I was lucky enough to be a part of this experience. 14 volunteers headed to Faith Academy, and in just a 48 hour period we became different people. We grew stronger, more capable, and INSPIRED. Faith Academy is located in the hills of St. Mary Parish an hour inland from Ocho Rios, in the mountains. It was opened by Kenroy and Simone Euter, who have spent several years working to build this school to provide primary, secondary, and adult education for people in this region. The closest school is 45 minutes one way and the students often drop out or never attend due to the distance. It has always been Kenroy and Simone’s dream to open this school and make a difference in their community through education. They wish to one day have a university and hopefully, with Beach Bum CARES behind them, that dream will come true!
In December, the Beach Bum CARES volunteers helped by donating funds and time to construct a cement floor and shell of the school building. Together, with two wheelbarrows, three shovels and seven buckets, we mixed, poured, laid, and smoothed out the concrete to accommodate five classrooms! In two short days, the amount we accomplished inspired us so much, we cried. We did something that Kenroy and Simone have been dreaming about for five years ….having a school floor! Such a small thing made such a difference in their lives, and we were so proud and honored to be a part of making that happen! They have been able to host adult education classes and expand the building since then, and we have helped make their dream of having a school come alive. Each improvement meets more requirements to attain government funding, and they are closer to their goal of cutting the ribbon! It was an incredible experience to make a difference in their lives, and we were all humbled by our own capability.
In February I was blessed to go back to take additional supplies and see the additional progress that has been made at Faith Academy. My husband, Erich, and I took hard hats, safety glasses, and work gloves donated by Indianapolis based Messer Construction and school supplies. New additions included an entryway and a small area for additional classrooms. Seeing how much they have accomplished in the last 3 months since we were there was truly awe-inspiring. We are truly excited about what is yet to come with Faith Academy!
Beach Bum CARES (BBC) is planning to return in the future with more funds and labor to finish more of the school. Currently BBC is seeking donations for supplies that can be taken via air and more importantly money to purchase building supplies in Jamaica. Most of what is needed cannot be transported. You may make a donation here. Beach Bum CARES also seeks volunteers to help with this project. BBC is not set up to sponsor airfare and/or hotel stay but would be honored and humbled if anyone would like to join us. It truly is a life changing experience and equally important, your help and generosity will forever change the lives of people in this community. This school has the potential to change the entire economy of this region!! If you are at all interested, please email email@example.com to be added to the list of potential volunteers. We will keep you posted on dates and details. Thank you so much for your support!