Using the power of hope and love to transform communities and improve lives
In its simplest form, to inspire is defined as the action or power of moving intellect or emotions. We, the Sandals Foundation, believe that the action of inspiring hope is a force that can move mountains.
The Sandals Foundation is a non-profit organization launched in March 2009 to help Sandals Resorts International continue to make a difference in the Caribbean. All costs associated with administration and management is supported by Sandals International so that 100% of every dollar donated goes directly towards funding impactful and meaningful initiatives within the key areas of Education, Community and Environment.
All donations go to Project funding
Two new recipients have been awarded the Gordon "Butch" Stewart Tourism, Hospitality and Service Scholarship as the 2022 school year begins.
Jeniffer Laltoo-Greenridge, weddings manager at Sandals Grenada, and Shanana Green-Daye, Sandals Ochi Beach Resort's Club Sandals concierge, were selected after a rigorous interview process from applications submitted since June.
The scholarship was created by the Stewart family, Sandals Foundation, and Sandals Resorts International, through its Sandals Corporate University (SCU), to honour the company's late chairman and is open to team members across the Sandals and ATL Group.
Recipients are able to pursue a bachelor's degree in tourism, hospitality or a service-related discipline.
"We are extremely proud to announce Jeniffer and Shanana as this year's scholarship recipients, joining last year's inaugural awardees," a company release quotes Sandals Executive Chairman Adam Stewart.
"Our company is built on the ethos of people development coupled with myriad training options provided through our SCU. This scholarship is a continuation of our belief in investing in our over 15,000 team members. We remain committed to creating opportunities to enhance their competencies and fulfil academic dreams to realise their full potential," added Stewart, who is also executive chairman of the Jamaica Observer.
Still in awe and appreciative of the investment in her future, Laltoo-Greenridge reflected on the impactful interview she had.
"In the interview, we were asked to share our favourite characteristics of Gordon Butch Stewart, and the one I mentioned is the fact that he gave freely; he shared his vision, his passion, his wealth and it made all the difference for those who came in contact with him. Likewise, I believe when you have something special, you should share it because you never know where it could take you and how you can positively impact others," she said.
"I'm ready to further my education and offer even more of my skill sets to the tourism and events industry here in Grenada. I thank my family, friends and co-workers for their constant support and encouragement," she added.
Laltoo-Greenridge, who will be pursuing a bachelor's in hospitality and events management at Florida International University, disclosed that she had always wanted to further her education.
"Despite the uncertainties, I never gave up, and the timing of this scholarship is a true testament to remaining steadfast. Having been with Sandals for over nine years, I am grateful for the professional and personal development I have received and look forward to gaining more knowledge to invest in the development of our brand," she said.
For Green-Daye, the move to pursue further studies has been forthcoming and a constant conversation between her husband and herself, especially in the months leading up to receiving the scholarship.
An excited Green-Daye said, "I am extremely grateful to God and express my sincere gratitude to the team at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort for guiding, mentoring and believing in me. I have been afforded the opportunity to further my studies. It is a very humbling feeling and I strongly believe that you get out of life what you are prepared to put in. I know I have put in the work and will continue to do so. I will do my utmost best in all areas at school and continue to provide exceptional service at work, all while being a mentor to others. Being an awardee of this scholarship has taken me a step closer to fulfilling my dream of obtaining a first degree in human resource management."
Especially thankful for the financial assistance after the uncertainty caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic as well as global inflation, Green-Daye added, "To our Executive Chairman Mr Adam Stewart, thank you for continuing to pave the pathway to success for team members. To the committee members, I appreciate the time spent reviewing my application and selecting me as one of the recipients. Your words of encouragement will resonate with me forever, and to Jeniffer my colleague and fellow 2022 scholarship recipient, I know, like me, you will do your utmost to make everyone proud."
This year's recipients were part of an impressive cadre of applicants, described by Sandals Foundation Executive Director Heidi Clarke as "true inspirations, not only for their commitment and outstanding contribution to the company, but for the resilience they each showed navigating personal challenges all while never hesitating to be of service to others."
Following the passing of Butch Stewart in January 2021, Sandals Foundation, in a move to preserve and honour his legacy, announced the intention to create a scholarship to serve the company's team members and welcomed donations to further this vision. Five months later, the scholarship was launched with a call for applications and to date has now awarded five recipients.
"Shanana and Jeniffer have made us proud over the years through their commitment to their own development and contribution to the Sandals brand," said Adam Stewart. "We know for certain that they will continue to make us proud as they pursue their studies. We are committed to our team members and investing in their growth as that's what maintains the world's best team. My dad always believed in sharing knowledge and even before we had a Sandals Corporate University or an ATL Academy he was passionate about learning and development and about empowering people to become their best selves."
With access to higher education proving difficult for the region's most disadvantaged, the Sandals Foundation has awarded approximately US$60,000 this year through its Care For Kids Scholarship programme to high-performing secondary students in need of financial assistance to pursue tertiary studies at local and international universities.
Sixteen students from across the Caribbean within the scholarship programme are currently pursuing undergraduate degrees in fields ranging from natural sciences education, primary education and educational leadership to mathematics, marine wildlife conservation biology, general medicine, and veterinary medicine.
“It has been a transformative experience for both recipients of the scholarship and the team at the Sandals Foundation,” says Heidi Clarke, Executive Director, “When we started the programme in 2009, our goal was to help students make it through their high school studies. However, having witnessed the unparalleled high performance and dedication of students, we knew it was our responsibility to see them through their studies even further. This year we are so proud of all 39 of our Care For Kids Scholars and especially those starting or continuing their studies at college.”
"We believe in the transformative power of education, and by removing the financial constraints, we have seen how students, many of whom are the first within their households to attend university, have been able to thrive both academically and personally," Clarke continued.
Aaliyah Beneby and Waydeja Rolle, two Care For Kids scholars from Exuma, The Bahamas, are now enrolled in the university and college of their choice in the United States of America, pursuing first degrees in biology and finance, respectively. Both, who are LN Coakley High School graduates were enrolled in the scholarship programme during high school and have received ongoing financial support from the Sandals Foundation as well as additional scholarships from their universities.
Another scholar, Kelsey Jones, a first-year Jamaican Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student now studying at St. George's University in Grenada, explained how this scholarship has aided her academic endeavours.
"Without the scholarship, I would not be half as close to achieving my goal," Jones explained.
"Even if I had worked multiple jobs to save money, it would have taken me years to pay for even half of the programme. The Foundation believes in me and has given me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue my lifelong dream," said Jones, who has a deep passion for animals and wishes to have an impact not only on animal health and welfare but also on human and environmental health.
Through the Care For Kids scholarship programme, students are introduced to mentorship and encouraged to volunteer within their communities, acting as a catalyst for social change.
Nuala Augustine, a second-year student at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in St. Lucia is enabled to make difference.
“The children today are the leaders of tomorrow and there is no better way to instill values in our children than to be present with them, teaching and molding them. Having received this scholarship allows me to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Primary Education and Educational Leadership, and this has poised me to play an integral role in creating the strong foundation that our children will need as they prepare to be our future representatives,” Augustine explained.
For Romarie Bartley, former Head Boy of St. George’s College in Jamaica, charting his future as an aspiring cardiothoracic surgeon, he now enters his seven-year programme to earn a Bachelor's of Medicine degree at the University of Medical Science of Havana in Cuba.
The Care For Kids Scholarship programme was established in 2009 to meet the needs of secondary students, and it covers the costs of tuition, transportation, uniforms, books, and housing for the duration of their studies. As more of its recipients maintained outstanding performance records, the Sandals Foundation expanded the programme's reach to assist students transitioning to tertiary studies. To date, the scholarship programme has benefited a total of 209 students.
The programme is made possible by the generous donations of Sandals and Beaches Resorts guests as well as donors from all over the world who believe in the power of education and want to help it grow in the region.
KINGSTON, Jamaica, August 2, 2022—As the country marks its 60th anniversary of independence, the Sandals Foundation drums up its support to help keep the authentic Jamaican sound alive by strengthening and enriching brass music education on the island in partnership with the Alpha School of Music, one of the most influential music education institutions in Jamaica.
Through two four-day workshops that will be held on August 9-12 at the Sam Sharpe Teachers College in Montego Bay and on August 16-19 at Alpha School of Music in Kingston, the organisations aim to develop the capacity of twenty music instructors, including private music tutors and instructors at the high school and college levels, to provide best practices in brass music education to young trumpet and trombone players across the island.
Patrice Gilpin, Public Relations Manager at the Sandals Foundation, expressed the importance of the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International supporting music education in Jamaica.
“Music is a major part of who we are as Jamaicans—our undeniable rhythms have transcended geographical boundaries and language barriers, raising global consciousness, leading movements, and inspiring generations.”
“As an organisation proudly born in Jamaica,” Gilpin continued, “we are passionate about preserving the unique elements of our culture. Building the capacity of music educators to train the next generation of entertainers in this masterful craft will be key to keeping our unique touch to our musical art even as it evolves to modern day sounds”.
Wind and brass instruments are synonymous with the origins of Jamaican popular music, particularly ska. However, during the 1970s and 1980s, many wind and brass players migrated from Jamaica, resulting in a brain drain of players and instructors. Many of these brass musicians were past students of the Alpha Boys School, the music legacy for which is now being preserved and developed by the Alpha School of Music.
Gay Magnus, Bandmaster at the Alpha School of Music says brass training will be critical in the continued development of brand Jamaica.
“Music education in Jamaica needs quality, consistent support,” said Magnus, “especially brass which is so important to ska as well as jazz and reggae. Jamaican brass musicians, including musicians trained at Alpha, have been recognized as among the best in the world and brought a lot of attention to our music and our island. Quality and consistent music education will have a similar impact which will benefit today’s upcoming brass players, our music, our economy and our country.”
Now, with the potential to expand the caliber of brass music educators across the country, Magnus expressed excitement about the impact that these workshops could have on preserving this aspect of Jamaican music.
“The Alpha School of Music is committed to developing music education across the island. Thanks to Sandals Foundation and our community partners, these workshops will provide music educators with specialized brass pedagogy, specifically for trumpet and trombone, which may not have been available during their teacher training. Participants will also benefit from these practices in instruction and the development of fundamental brass techniques.”
The workshop will see attendees each receiving an instrument for use during the training, and be awarded with a certificate upon completion.
Sessions in Montego Bay will be directed by Dr. Nathaniel Brickens, Professor of Music at The University of Texas, and in Kingston by Dr. Jason Sulliman, Assistant Professor of Trombone at Troy University based in Alabama. Dr. Brickens serves as director of the internationally-acclaimed UT Trombone Choir and was the recipient of the 2019 International Trombone Association’s (ITA) Humfeld Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Sulliman teaches applied trombone, class brass and coaches various chamber brass ensembles at Troy and currently serves as the trombone tutor for the North American Brass Band Summer School as part of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tatoo in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The brass training workshops form part of Sandals Foundation’s 40for40 sustainable development projects seeking to preserve the region's cultural heritage and further develop its iconic sounds. The initiative is made possible with the support of the American Friends of Jamaica, Sandals Resorts International and Serve 360/AC Marriott who have provided funding for the tutors, instrument rental, materials, accommodation, flights and meals.
GREAT Shape! Inc's 'Teach the Teachers' workshop, which has engaged hundreds of local principals and educators since 2015, will be addressing critical learning needs brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic in sessions which started yesterday and are scheduled to end on August 5 at Godfrey Stewart High school in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland.
It will focus on behavioural management, language arts, and computer training , with local educators practising new techniques in real time.
According to Great Shape! Inc volunteer and co-director for Teach the Teachers, Kait Fairchild, as schools across the island resume more frequent face-face lessons this year's training will examine innovative ways of stimulating learning.
"During the behaviour management workshops in week two we will address students' new and emerging social-emotional needs in the post-pandemic classroom. This will be done by focusing on strategies that build connection and community, teach students how to use self-regulation and self-awareness techniques to help modify problem behaviours, and give them a sense of belonging."
Fairchild noted that the team will also address students' regression in content areas by presenting ways to assess where students are academically so that educators can specifically address the students' needs. "Additionally, we will teach how to use movement in the classroom to stimulate students' interest and build their learning stamina," said Fairchild.
Heidi Clarke, executive director at the Sandals Foundation which is partnering with Great Shape! Inc, noted the importance of the professional support being provided by the Teach the Teachers workshop.
"The last two years have dealt a significant blow to the learning developmental needs of children across the world. Teachers will play a critical role in the COVID-19 recovery process, manoeuvring the new and evolving psycho-social needs of pupils, all while developing their literacy, numeracy and other foundational skills," said Clarke.
She further noted that the Sandals Foundation is grateful to have the continued support of the Great Shape team that has stayed the course, adjusting their curriculum to reflect the digital needs at the height of the pandemic and now, redoubling efforts to further support local educators in what will be a great task ahead.
The programme will be done under the tutelage of volunteer educators from the United Sates, Canada and Jamaica.
For the first time this year the Teach the Teachers workshop will offer sessions in numeracy development.
"Numeracy is an important skill for students' development and success in life and helps to develop logical thinking and reasoning strategies, and assists with problem-solving and many daily activities like budgeting, reading receipts, reading instructions and even playing sports," said Fairchild. She also noted that numeracy development has been found to have an impact on later life outcomes like earnings, productivity and better health outcomes.
Sandals Resorts International and its philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation, provide all logistical support for Great Shape! Inc volunteer missions across the Caribbean through the provision of complimentary accommodation at its resorts, transportation, daily meals at workshops, venue rentals when required, and other needs.