(August 13, 2012) For 2012, the Sandals Foundation has committed to awarding 42 children in the Caribbean with scholarships over a five-year period valued at more than US$100,000.
Since 2009, the Sandals Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International – has seen to the disbursement of scholarships, under the Care for Kids program, to high school students in Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Antigua, the Bahamas and Saint Lucia. The grants cover the costs of tuition, uniforms, books and annual medicals.
The Care for Kids Scholarship Program, which requires students to maintain a minimum B average and engage in volunteer service, is a long-term initiative intended to support educational development in the Caribbean. This is alongside two other Foundation programs: parenting workshops and teacher-training.
Speaking in Jamaica at this year’s Care for Kids scholarship luncheon – held to celebrate the achievements of 25 Jamaican students – Heidi Clarke, Sandals Foundation’s director of programs, reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to education.
“The Care for Kids initiative is a Foundation partnership with your parents and your schools, and of course with each of you. We expect that you will work hard to develop your potential to become productive citizens.
“We encourage you to make full use of this opportunity, recognizing that there are many others who do not have this experience,” Clarke said.
The Sandals Foundation – which has adopted 26 schools in the Caribbean since its inception in 2009 – hosted the luncheon at Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club in Jamaica. Following the event, members of the Foundation celebrated the children’s achievements by treating them to a fun day courtesy of Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios.
“I feel really honored standing here and want to say a big thank you for giving us such an opportunity to excel academically and to achieve our goals,” said Queen Aura Bennett, a scholarship awardee who delivered the vote of thanks on behalf of her fellow recipients.
Also in attendance at the luncheon were Chevelle Blackburn, a scholarship recipient, now attending Bethlehem Moravian teachers’ college with the assistance of sponsors through the Foundation; and Austin Swaby, a fourth form student at Marcus Garvey Technical High School and junior golf champion, who is a member of the Sandals Foundation Care for Kids Golf Academy.