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12-Year Old Turns Birthday Gift Into Huge Cash Donation to Jamaican Students
Focused Fazio! Beaches Negril guests, Simon Fazio (centre) and his mom Ann Lapalice(right) took a couple hours away from the rest and relaxation to read with Students at the West End Infant School when they visited Jamaica recently.

Focused Fazio! Beaches Negril guests, Simon Fazio (centre) and his mom Ann Lapalice(right) took a couple hours away from the rest and relaxation to read with Students at the West End Infant School when they visited Jamaica recently.

Negril, Westmoreland: If someone asks you what you’d want as a birthday present, what would your answer be? Perhaps you’d ask for the latest gadget. But that is not the case for 12-year-old, Simon Fazio. In fact, it has long been said that children are the future and if Fazio’s selfless act of kindness is anything to go by, then, the future is in good hands.

Fazio and his family have visited Beaches Negril Resort multiple times and, each year, the family looks forward to the sun, sea and overall island vibe. However in early March this year, the youngest of the lot had more than that in mind.

“Last year when we were here, I was walking through the lobby and picked up a magazine that was talking about how hard it was for some children here (in Jamaica) to go to school. I was really moved by that. So when my family asked me what I wanted for my birthday and for Christmas, I thought it would be good to ask them for contribution towards the kids of Jamaica,” Fazio explained.

Fazio became relentless in his philanthropic efforts. He rallied family members and friends and raised CAD$5000, all of which he has since donated to the Sandals Foundation’s Care for Kids Scholarship Initiative.

“This is indeed a kind and selfless act by such a young man and it must be acknowledged and applauded. I want to thank young Simon for this donation that will go towards fulfilling the foundation’s promise towards education in Jamaica,” said Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation.

Clarke explained that the Care for Kids Scholarship programme is geared towards improving the educational experience and overall livelihood of children. The scholarship programme provides a minimum of US$400 each year for up to five years to students. This helps to cover expenses such as annual medical, tuition, books and uniforms. In some cases, students are further assisted with transportation and lunch on a daily basis.

“It is through donations like this from our guests and travel partners that allow us to positively impact the lives of so many children and we are sure that the children who will benefit from Simon’s donation will make the best use of the opportunity,” Clarke said.

Over 50 students have so far benefited from the programme since the Foundation assumed responsibility of the initiative in 2009.

His mother, Ann Lapalice is not surprised by her son’s charitable exploit as she said kindness was a trait detected in him since he was much younger.

“Simon has always been caring and giving. He is one who is always thinking of other people. When he mentioned what he wanted to do, I felt a great sense of pride as a parent. I had no idea that it would’ve grown like this. Because of Simon, we are already thinking about other ways we can help people. He has started a momentum,” she shared.

The young philanthropist is happy he was able to donate to someone else’s education especially because he understands the value of it.

Education is the centre of life. It is how you get a job and it is how you make money. So if you do not have an education, it sets you back,” Fazio explained.