By: Beach Bum Marcie
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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!