By: Beach Bum Nanda
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.
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!