The Reading Road Trip to a local elementary school in Jamaica was the most memorable part of our trip for me. The Sandals Foundation has partnered with School Specialty to help provide Jamaican students with necessary school supplies and aid. They were able to assist over 300 children in 2016 as of mid October. We (bloggers) Packed for a Purpose and brought needed supplies in backpacks from home for the students. We Packed for a Purpose and brought needed school supplies to the Jamaican students. These items consisted of crayons, rulers, paper and things that we take for granted in our schools here.
The Reading Road Trip in Jamaica had a huge impact on me and I will be forever touched by these beautiful young girls I had the privilege of meeting.
We (bloggers and some family members) were driven by van a few miles away from Beaches Negril to visit local schools. Children in uniform greeted us while they beamed from ear to ear in anticipation of meeting new friends. I found myself in one of the classrooms sitting with two of the loveliest girls’ I have met in a long time.
The school building was old with poor lighting and the classroom was sparse. There was no heat or air conditioning. There was no abundance of paper, rulers, pencils or pens and no iPad in sight. I immediately thought of the difference in atmosphere’s between Jamaican schools and those in the United States and there was obviously a huge contrast. However, the kids did not know they were lacking in modern supplies and technology; they were happy to be there and have the opportunity to learn.
Samantha and Gabrielle were anxious to get to know this stranger from America. They wanted to know all about me and were happy to share their age and grade. We took turns reading books to each other. They both were in their early elementary years and I was happy to see their reading levels were very strong. Samantha struggled to read more than Gabrielle. I helped her sound out some words as she smiled appreciating the assistance. My heart tugged and I held back tears as I hoped she would get the support she needs to become a solid reader. With two boys of our own who are dyslexic, we are keenly aware of the hardships struggling readers and spellers go through.
We decorated construction paper to send to children affected by Hurricane Matthew that recently struck nearby Haiti. The students were ecstatic to create something that would help bring a smile to those who just experienced a horrible natural disaster. As we headed to leave, the students sang for us in the courtyard. The song had deep meaning as it spoke of their freedom and rights. Samantha stared at me and I had this overwhelming desire to take her home with us! She ran up to me after the song and hugged me goodbye and told me how nice it was to meet me. I told her how special it was to have met her and how important it is to do well in school and study so that one day you can do whatever you want. I was speechless as we left because it was so hard to leave her but to also imagine the hardships in her life. It made me realize even more how much we take for granted in our everyday lives. Watch Video of Jamaican students singing!
If you have an opportunity to help children in Jamaica there are several ways to make an impact. Visit SandalsFoundation.Org and learn more about their mission to help Jamaican students. Visit Pack for a Purpose and learn how you can donate or bring needed school supplies when you travel to certain countries . The Reading Road Trip in Jamaica had a huge impact on me and I will be forever touched by these beautiful young girls I had the privilege of meeting.
All opinions are my own. I attended Georgia Social Media on the Sand at Beaches Resorts in Negril, Jamaica in October 2016.