THE Sandals Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International, celebrated its 10th anniversary on Monday March 18th at the Sandals Halcyon. To commemorate the event was a musical performance by the students of the L’Abayee Seventh Day Academy School Choir. Fifty students from grades three to six and of ages nine to twelve, assembled onto a stage to perform for the guests and staff of Sandals Halcyon. The students were accompanied by teachers Keia Hippolyte, Onica Camille and Cornelia Gustave.
The children were proud to display their talent for the guests, and the guests in turn appeared to enjoy the performance. Patrick Watt, Spa Manager at Sandals Halcyon said that he was captivated by the children’s performance. “The harmony of their voices was amazing,” he said, “they’re so little and yet their voices are so powerful,” he continued. Cornelia Gustave was proud of her students. She said that music is something the children have always enjoyed, and that it is important as it enables them to express themselves in a way that nothing else can. The repertoire of songs that the choir performed included, “Now I’m on My Way” by Brooklyn Tabernacle, “I Will Bless the Lord at All Times” by Joe Pace, “Solid Rock” by Uche, “Double Double” by Atta Boafo, and “Caribbean Medley” by Donnie McClurkin.
The General Manager of Sandals Halcyon, Christopher Elliot, said the performance was a way of thanking their guests who have supported the Sandals Foundation for the past decade of its existence. He too, was impressed with the children’s performance. “We are all blown away by the quality of singing, and we appreciate the performance,” stated Elliot. The idea for the students of the L’Abayee Seventh Day Academy School to perform for the guests was presented by the Sales Executive, Densosia Charles. It was a way of showing gratitude to the Sandals Foundation for its commitment and contribution to youth education in St. Lucia.
The Sandals Foundation was established by Sandals Resorts International in order to assume their corporate social responsibilities. It was built on the promise to make the Caribbean community the best that it can be through investments in sustainable projects, which improve the lives of people and their natural environment. The three pillars of the foundation are education, environment and community. Persons who have ideas for projects which can strengthen any of those pillars are welcome to submit proposals through the Sandals Foundation website.
Judy Deterville, Public Relations Manager for Sandals Resorts International, said “new and fresh” ideas for educational, environmental, and community development are always welcomed by the foundation. She said proposals for projects are approved on the basis of their timing, cost and content. Two projects that the Sandals Foundation is continuing to work with in 2019 are the Faces of Cancer and the Salvation Army. Deterville stated that the work of the foundation helps to foster a positive relationship between tourism, the public and the people that they work with. The foundation has given sponsorships to students for both their academic and athletic advancement. “The Sandals Foundation is proof that tourism can assist the process of child development in St. Lucia, or any country,” stated Deterville.
The Sandals Foundation, in its past ten years, has also sponsored an entrepreneurial programme, which has given assistance to over two hundred young people. According to Rhonda Giraudy, the Public Relations Manager for Sandals International, “We try to get our hands into all sorts of areas to try to make an impact on the lives of people.”