PHILIPSBURG–Fifteen local educational organisations were invited to Holland House Beach Hotel’s Recovery Happy Hour on Friday to celebrate the donations they have already received or will receive from Foresee (4C) Foundation in the coming weeks and months.
US $146,000 was granted through international charity funding, offering to assist Foresee Foundation in its effort to work with schools, after-school programmes and other educational institutions after the passing of Hurricane Irma.
First-needs assessments were initiated in November 2017, which resulted in the 15 organisations receiving such assistance as educational equipment, sport and art materials, playground facilities, uniforms and financial aid for after-school and art programmes for students under the age of 18.
New Start Foundation, Charlotte Brookson Academy and I Can Foundation received funding for uniforms, shoes, backpacks and belts.
Large playground equipment, which is excluded from insurance coverage, will be provided to Seventh-Day Adventist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the two Hillside Christian Schools.
Sister Basilia Center of White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation, Player Development Little League, Ideal playschool and Marie Genevieve de Weever School will receive a collection of play, sport, art and educational materials in the coming month, with ArtCraftsCafe Foundation receiving a wide selection of art materials.
For The Win (FTW) Gaming and Sundial School are pending electronic and information technology (IT) equipment to replace devices with storm damage.
In addition, two other large organisations that focus on after-school and art programmes requested financial aid in the form of scholarships. The allocation of these funds was based on the observation that, as a result of losing their jobs after Irma, a number of parents could not afford these programmes, which are critical to child development.
This method of sponsoring allows approximately 100 children to engage with and enjoy the programmes of No Kidding With Our Kids, National Institute of Art (NIA), and Behind the Beyond Community Theatre Foundations.
The organisations are now also able to expand and offer more children the opportunity to explore and develop their talents.
Before Irma, 4C had just distributed 90 flat-screen televisions across 27 St. Maarten schools, all donated by one of the island’s major resorts. Less than 16 hours before Irma hit, 4C, with the assistance of shipping agency CTC and Milton Peters College, was able to secure 23 interactive digital boards with the generous donation by a school in the United States. Irma changed things drastically and creative approaches were needed by all, including 4C.
Schools began cleaning up and making repairs, even to this day working to restore their establishments to 100 per cent, where simultaneously 4C started working with them to improve their DigiProjects by strengthening and expanding networks, integrating reconstruction with a vision to build back better than before.
Despite encountering many challenges, among them a failing insurance which leaves thousands of children, educators and parents in a difficult situation, the schools show their commitment to rebuilding better and stronger. In addition to working with the schools to return to daily operations, 4C chose to assist wherever needed, from sharing food within severely affected neighbourhoods to organizing the “Stories of Irma” project.
There can always be “good coming out of the bad,” and 4C, with this in mind, is working on some future projects. In the upcoming weeks, the gaming arm of 4C, FTW, will be contacting secondary schools to invite them to compete in its mobile game design contest, challenging the creative minds of talented youngsters beyond traditional learning.
In addition, 4C is exploring the possibility of continuing its DigiWorkz programme on design thinking, maker spaces, coding and programming, and is simultaneously making preparations for Caribbean Technology in Education Conference (CTEC) 2019.
The foundation continues to expand its presence in the region with several inspiring educational initiatives currently being executed as part of the 4C pre-Irma plan.
Foresee Foundation was founded in October 2013 with the aim to develop and maintain innovative educational programmes in St. Maarten.
Through its extensive DigiKidz, DigiTeenz, DigiWorkz programs at several primary and secondary schools, its partnership with the public library in setting up the DigiKidz Medialab and the CTEC conference for St. Maarten and the Caribbean, the foundation works to bring 21st century skills into schools and the community with a focus on the four “Cs” of
“Communication, Collaboration, Creative and Critical Thinking,” believing in student-centred learning and in a more active role for students beyond the four walls of the classroom.
This belief is based on the fifth “C” of “Connecting” schools, parents, students, the business world, young local professionals, and government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in and beyond St. Maarten, creating a community of learners, young and a little older.
Foresee believes in strong public and private partnerships, connecting people and using their talents to help make St. Maarten a better community.
The foundation applauds all recipients’ efforts, all of whom work tirelessly to give children a hopeful future. For all post-Irma activities and particularly this project, 4C extends its sincere thanks to its funder, the US-based donors of the digital interactive boards, former US college peers of board members for their emergency relief items and PowerUp EDU for sending tarpaulins for teachers.
On a local level, the organisation thanks businesses and private sponsors for enabling 4C to continue doing what it is able to do to this day.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/80491-irma-relief-grant-for-fifteen-organisations-in-education