We Packed with a Purpose for the Sandals Foundation

On our recent trip to Turks and Caicos with Beaches Resorts, my son was able to experience so many things he’s never been able to see and do before, it was an amazing one on one trip where I really got to see him learn and grow. Being outside of the craziness of day to day life at home, it was a time for us to just focus on each other and one thing I already knew, but really hit home for me on that trip was – this is a REALLY great kid! He impressed me at every turn and I was blown away by his kindness, willingness to go with the flow and his bravery. 

Reading Road Trip

One morning, we climbed aboard a big hot white school bus and traveled through the streets of Providenciales to visit the Enid Capron Primary School with the Reading Road Trip Program 

school bus

 

Reading Road Trip, is a unique opportunity for guests visiting all Sandals resorts and Beaches resorts to visit one of the Sandals Foundation’s adopted early childhood or primary schools  and engage with students ages 5-7 in activities geared at improving their literacy, vocabulary and comprehension. We traveled to the school on the same bus the students use which made for an exciting and authentic experience for my son and I.

school girls

We had a quick glance at the playground before heading up the big hill to the school buildings, these adorable girls were our first look at the students of Enid Capron, they were excited to see us! The first big difference my son noticed was the uniforms. All the 580 students at Enid Capron wear uniforms though they did differ between classes. We asked to visit the Grade 2 classroom so my son could meet students the same age as him.

school kids Sandals Foundation

The second difference my son noted was that the classrooms were individual buildings which is very unlike his large school structure that houses all the kids together. The grade 2 classroom was full from wall to wall with desks and happy faces! It was hard to get them all together for a photo as there was no open space in the classroom and the kids were so excited to get their picture taken they fought for a prime spot in the middle! 

Packing for a Purpose

Volunteers are encouraged to bring new or gently used books to share with the children and donate to the school’s library, we brought along three books to leave with the kids. We were also asked if we would like to read to the children, and having worked as an early childhood educator for many years, I was super excited to engage with the children. Unfortunately, I had caught a cold on the plane ride down and lost my voice, it was particularly bad this day and I was disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to take part. I was blown away, when my son decided that HE would get up in front of the class and read them a book on his own!

reading road trip sandals foundation

My proudest Mama Moment!

reading road trip with the sandals foundation

I was so proud of him! He was very brave to get up there in front of the classroom and read the kids a story, the children were so quiet and patient with him as he read the whole book. We also had the chance to hear a few of the other kids read and they were very good and excited to show off their skills and knowledge!

boys in class

The kids were most excited just to meet us and the feeling was reciprocal! The teacher seemed a little strict and naturally wanted her students on their best behaviour, but we were able to gather a few boys for a quick photo before they took their seats. When it was time to go a little girl asked me for a hug! My heart melted instantly! One hug lead to another and another and soon little girls were lined up for a hug fest which I happily engaged in! I could have stayed all day to hug each and every one of them, but I didn’t want to disrupt the class too much. My son gave the grade two teacher our books to keep and we sadly waved goodbye.

reading roadtrip wall

Take a Reading Road Trip!

The Sandals Foundation has been very active in supporting the Enid Capron Primary School through infrastructural upgrades, donations of much needed books and school supplies, and through the weekly Reading Road Trip. You can take a Reading Road Trip too! The excursion operates from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. every Thursday, September to June in Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Saint Lucia, Antigua, and Great Exuma, The Bahamas at a cost of US$20 per person, ages 13 years and older. Children between the ages of 8-12 are complimentary and all minors must be accompanied by an adult.

This was an amazing experience for my son to be able see a school in another country and how it differs from his own. We both left feeling blessed for all that we have and with a greater understanding of the school and children in Turks and Caicos Islands. We often donate items here in Canada, but being there in person, first hand, to see the school and students who benefit from the Sandals Foundation was a special moment. Being able to hand the books right to the teacher and know that those children need them and will enjoy them made a big impact on my son. Back at home, my son brought in photos of our visit to his own class and shared our day on the Reading Road Trip with his teacher and classmates. This was a day we both won’t soon forget!

You can follow the Sandals Foundation on Facebook and on Twitter @SandalsFdn, for updates.

 

 

 

Looking for more posts about Beaches Turks and Caicos? Check out these:

Beaches Resorts, Turks and Caicos Celebrates the Grand Opening of Key West Luxury Village

The Beauty of Beaches Resorts

Where in the World is Turks and Caicos?

 

 

Disclosure, I was provided with airfare and accommodations to attend Beaches Resort, regardless,  all opinions expressed are honest and my own.

 

Comments

  1. That is amazing! How brave to get up and read in front of everyone!

  2. Chandra Christine O'Connor says:

    what a fabulous learning experience

  3. Elva Roberts says:

    Isn’t it wonderful when our child surprises us with his initiative and courage. It takes a lot of confidence to stand in front of your peers and speak for a few minutes. much less read a whole book to them. Kudos to him and to you for giving him such confidence.

    • momvstheboys says:

      Thank you Elva, I agree, this would have been difficult to do in front of his own class here in Canada! He was extra brave to do it in a strange country where everything was so new and different. I was super proud!

  4. What an incredible experience!

  5. Teresa Claire says:

    I love books and reading is a such a big part of my parenting…this is a great opportunity!

  6. cool photos

  7. Debbie S. says:

    Awesome! How proud you must be!
    High five to your son.

  8. Erika B says:

    That is so awesome, I love the pics!!

  9. angela m says:

    What a great experience and opportunity

  10. What an amazing experience for you and your son! Being able to share such a fabulous adventure is priceless. I bet the children were thrilled to have you all visit.

  11. Judy C (Judy Cowan) says:

    What an amazing experience to share with your son! I am sure it will be one of the proud moments that you will always remember!

  12. Heidi C. says:

    It sounds like you got to experience something very special!

  13. Cassey C says:

    What a wonderful experience!

  14. Victoria Ess says:

    That sounds like a really nice experience for the two of you. It’s always nice to expand one’s worldview by stepping into that of another.

  15. What an amazing experience! And how brave of him to get up and read in front on everyone. I dont’ think I’d be able to do that!

  16. Shirley OFlynn says:

    What an amazing experience!

  17. Amy Heffernan says:

    WOW! Just amazing. What a heart felt experience.

  18. This reminds me of when I went to Jamaica and helped re build an all girl high school , so heart warming and I loved every second of the experience.

  19. Karen Hill says:

    Kids just seem to find friends among their own age with out inhibitions

  20. Heather Swanson says:

    A very inspiring story

  21. Corry L. says:

    What a great story. Thank you for sharing!

  22. Monique L.S. says:

    Sounds like a wonderful experience, with lifelong memories.

  23. What a wonderful experience!

  24. I love how a resort is offering the ability to volunteer and learn what makes a country tick. It is so easy to stay in resort and stay aloof to the country you are staying in.. It is quite a valuable experience!

    i volunteered in Jamaica to teach summer school with a local program- it was amazing! Some of the volunteers were at a school and the others and myself were at an orphanage. It is a remarkable opportunity.

    • momvstheboys says:

      wow Ashleigh, that must have been amazing! I wish I had done more things like that when I was in my teens and twenties

  25. Linda Meyers-Gabbard says:

    What a awesome experience for all of you. That is something the both of you will remember for the rest of your days. What a learning experience for your son. Thank you for sharing your amazing story with us.

  26. Great Project. Congratulations to it’s organizers.

  27. Darlene Schuller says:

    What an amazing experience for your son! I would be so very proud too!

  28. Suzanne G says:

    What a great way for your son to find out about how children in other countries are schooled.

  29. Stephanie LaPlante says:

    Wow how sweet. My heart just swelled reading this. I’d love to hug them all too…and your beautiful little boy. My God, you must be so proud.

  30. Elaine Buonsante says:

    What a wonderful experience for you both! I didn’t know that on these “holiday islands” that there was the opportunity for such a meaningful encounter.

  31. Diana Corlett says:

    A trip to be remembered I am sure…as a great experience and learning about the differences between our lifestyle and theirs!

  32. Aussie Uncle says:

    Great!!

  33. Debra F says:

    This was a fantastic trip for you and your son to bond. I’m sure many memories were made that he will cherish for years to come! I’m sure you also made a great difference in the students lives too!

  34. melanie Borhi says:

    Would love to travel here one day!

  35. Robyn L says:

    what an amazing adventure for you and your son. he can be proud as you are

  36. Marti Tabora says:

    That is so great. You have a pretty amazing kid there! I know you are proud of him.

  37. What an amazing opportunity for him, making a difference and learning = beautiful

  38. This is such a great post Jen! It was one of the highlights of the trip for me for sure. I love the photo you have of your boy reading to the class. Something he will remember for a long time I’m sure.

  39. My daughter and I went on a reading road trip when we were in a Beaches Resort in Jamaica. We loved meeting the kids and being guests in their classroom. It was a really special experience!

  40. I just love this program! Such a terrific idea and I can tell it was something that you really enjoyed participating in. I’m so sorry your voice wasn’t good that day but, wow, your son did an outstanding job on your behalf! No wonder you are a proud mama! He looks so cute standing up in front of the class! Love the pic of him with the other students. What a fantastic experience that must have been..for both of you!

  41. I am so proud of him too! OMG, I would have lost it 🙂 What an experience for him.

  42. Congratulations on him getting in front of everyone and reading, most kids his age and older people fear doing that.

  43. such an amazing program, you must be so proud of your son

  44. Wanda Bergman says:

    That is a very loooong bus … filled with such beautiful children!

  45. This sounds like it was a terrific learning experience for both you and your son.

  46. David W says:

    This is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  47. michelle cloutier says:

    Super!

  48. Marilyn Legault says:

    Quite the adventure for such a young boy!

  49. Seems like such a perfect way to spend your vacation!!

  50. nikki robak says:

    what a great experience for a child to go through

  51. Corry L. says:

    Amazing story of a great experience. Thanks for sharing.

  52. Debbie W says:

    This is inspiring and beautiful

  53. Amy Stack says:

    I got a little choked up when I read that your son got to read. What a courageous young man! We took our preschoolers to Cuba thins year and went on a tour to a local school. It wasn’t supported by a large resort and was a much different experience., however the children were happy and bright.

  54. melanie Borhi says:

    first of all I love That you guys supported such a great cause hat when you went on that trip and I feel that it. Would be a really unique experience to be able to bond with some of the children there like you did !

  55. Brave kid indeed! I would have never got up in front of a group of people at that age.

  56. Stacy Lynn Scott says:

    what a incredible journey your son got to experience, This must had not only touched your heart, but the hearts of all those beautiful children and that special feeling your son must have had in the end. This story has truly touched my heart, To be honest i am lost for words other than , Amazing just amazing. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story from your life. <3 and God bless you and your beautiful family xo

  57. Tonya Tipton says:

    I wanted to cry, Very Moving.

  58. Janet M says:

    I am happy for you for such a wonderful experience.

  59. Michelle says:

    That would be such a brave thing to do standing up in front of everyone to read….Good for your son

  60. kathy downey says:

    What an amazing experience!

  61. kathy downey says:

    What a couragous child !

  62. kathy downey says:

    I love books and reading is a such a big part our bedtime !

  63. Teresa Claire says:

    I think this is an amazing way to teach our children about other countries and cultures. Reading is so important. Sara was lucky to have a K1-3 teacher who really encouraged reading and was able to get the parents involved too. Way to go you 🙂

  64. Treen Goodwin says:

    Wow that’s amazing and so beautiful thanks for sharing 🙂

  65. What an amazing experience for both of you 🙂 That is pretty amazing your little one was brave enough to go up and read to the class!

  66. What a experience for your son! Best lessons are learned by experience. So glad you linked this for me to read. Amazing

  67. Cheryl Grandy says:

    What a wonderful experience for everyone! It’s a beautiful feeling when our children do something special like that.

  68. Christina says:

    This sounds like an amazing experience!!

  69. Bailey Dexter says:

    Wow, what a great experience for everyone & great memories for years!

  70. Robyn Bellefleur says:

    It takes a lot of guts for a kid to do something like that. Good for him! My, how proud you must be!

  71. kristen visser says:

    that is absolutely amazing!!! amazing learning experience for your son to have. so precious

  72. Anne Taylor says:

    This is so Brilliant! I’m proud of your son (and you), what a great learning and growing experience

  73. Christy Martin says:

    Sounds like a trip to remember for your son and you! I had not idea there was a Sandals Foundation, but had stayed at one of their resorts almost 10 years ago. What a great suggestion to take advantage of for those with kids.

  74. Viv Sluys says:

    The ultimate field trip! My daughter would love to do this.
    What a great reason to choose Sandals for a vacation package.

  75. Darlene W says:

    Awesome experience for all. It will be remembered always

  76. Darlene W says:

    Sandals vacation package was taken many years ago, maybe we should take another

  77. Denise Klay says:

    I loved this article and the value of the experience was wonderful !

  78. M Thompson says:

    What a great experience for your son

  79. caryn s says:

    You must be so proud of your son as i don’t know many people who are that brave to speak in front of people!

    • momvstheboys says:

      It’s so hard isn’t it? I was happy the kids were so patient with him even though his voice was very quiet

  80. Suzie M says:

    An amazing growth story

  81. Lesley F says:

    I love this idea! Wonderful

  82. Travelbuds says:

    What a fabulous idea. Looks like your son did a great job. Well done.

  83. seham merzib says:

    What an amazing experience!

  84. sheila ressel says:

    What a great program this is. It benefits everyone involved and provides life-long memories to the volunteers and children alike.

  85. What an amazing experience for your son. I don’t think kids get enough chances to show what they are made of. It is always so nice to know that your kids are learning the lessons that you are trying to teach!

    • momvstheboys says:

      You are probably right Lori, kids really don’t get enough chances to step up to challenges. I was worried about taking him out of school for a couple of days, but we had experiences and lessons far greater than the classroom at times.

      • I used to take my son out of school and go to Ottawa to see the Parliament buildings and museums. He is 20 now, and still talks about the experiences that he had when he was very young….seems to remember those more than the things he did yesterday…lol

  86. RICHARD HICKS says:

    I am glad Sandals is doing this. Great for the less fortunate kids

  87. What an amazing experience, for all of you.

  88. Elaine Buonsante says:

    What an incredible experience for you and your son! Since reading your blog about your trip I’ve read more about The Sandals Foundation and am far more interested in traveling and making even just a small difference with a personal connection. I’ve spread the word to my family as well.

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