A huge thank you goes out to SFS alumni, parents, and friends!
In January, Center Director Heidi Hertler and her team delivered well over 50 boxes of school supplies to Iris Stubbs Elementary School on South Caicos. The young men from Grade 6 helped to unload, and everyone was excited to receive the materials.
“Even before we left the school, the books were being read by the children,” Dr. Hertler recounts. “It was a very moving experience for all of us!”
When South Caicos withstood a direct hit from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, there was an immediate response from the SFS community. Over $22,000 was donated to help South Caicos residents recover from the storm, alongside boxes of school supplies and gym equipment given to assist the local schools.
“We are extremely glad that we were able to give a little help to a place many of us consider a second home,” said Sarah Koth, TCI Summer 1 ’17, who helped organize a donation drive from her class.
Ben Adams, TCI Fall ’90, reached out to his fellow classmates to reconnect and encourage contributions. “There is no shortage of people needing help around the world today and we all have finite resources, however for us, when we think back to how openly the island and the islanders embraced us, and the experiences we had, from backgammon, Jamaican patties by the school, hanging with the ex-Governor, volunteering at the local elementary school, the slew of amazing dive experiences and the amazing times we had together. It makes us want to give back.”
The staff and families of Creighton’s Corner Elementary School in Ashburn, Virginia, donated an astounding 47 boxes to be distributed at the South Caicos local schools — containing everything from crayons to Lego bricks to graph paper to white boards to jump ropes.
SFS Parent Lisa Shamlian, a Speech Language Pathologist at Creighton’s Corner, led and coordinated this school-wide effort. She learned about the devastation on South Caicos from her daughter Leah Shamlian, an alumna of the TCI Fall ’13 program, and enlisted the help of her school community. In December, she and her husband drove a van full of the donated supplies nearly 500 miles to SFS Headquarters in Beverly, Massachusetts so that the boxes could be loaded into a pallet bound for South Caicos.
“I’m proud of what our school accomplished,” she said, “including cash donations made the day before we drove up, which covered van rental and gas and tolls. These funds were donated by teachers who wanted to help other teachers and kids.”