New York Bajans on helping-hands mission at home

Photo Credit: NYAL Productions

A group of New York-based Barbadians and friends, back home for the Crop Over festival as well as some philantropic endeavors and other fun-in-the-sun endeavors of their own, this week were getting ready to deliver items from the first of four barrels of school supplies earmarked for seven primary schools on the island.

The group, led by Barbadian Sue Bowen of NYAL Productions of New York, held talks with school principals as they kicked off a Barbados We Care helping-hand initiative expected to materialize as a long-term give-back to their homeland.

“We’ve spoken with the principals” at the seven primary schools “to get a better idea” about about the needs in the long-term initiative, Bowen said.

The philangropic effort “will be a part of the growing trend to do good, while having fun,” Bowen added.

Barbados We Care – The Helping Hands, was started on Facebook in October, 2010 by Bowen and Barclay Harris, with the specific aim of lending assistance to Barbadians and other Caribbean children and families in times of disaster, and other areas of need, have joined with, to lead “philanthropists” to the island in late July.

For the inaugural trip, the group identified seven schools for the “Primary Schools Initiative”, in addition to needy families, who will also benefit from the overwhelming number of back-to-school donations and other items, given by individuals and companies, and a Brooklyn middle school, Arthur J. Cunningham IS234.

“The intent is to start in Barbados, then partner with other like-minded groups and organizations in the USA and the Caribbean, to affect tangible impact and advancement in areas including education, healthcare and financial discipline,” Bowen said.

“We feel extremely passionate about giving back and paying forward and in prompting and accentuating ways for individuals and families to create their own success and positive growth – engendering personal connections,” Harris said.

Bowen and Harris agree that the response from businesses has been positive and encouraging. Alen and Fiona Ghassomianes, owners of The Bajan Bistro Restaurant in Manhattan, have hosted the group’s events and community outreach efforts, and prizes were offered by American Airlines, as well as the Golden Sands Hotel, National Cultural Foundation, Cave Shepherd Department Store, The Plantation Theatre and CariGES for Women, in Barbados.

A recent collaboration with the City of Bridgetown Credit Union and Denis Tull of the Golden Sands Hotel, will further expose children to various aspects of saving and hotel stays with their families, they claim.

Among other activities planned for the Barbados trip were a Ladies Bikini Cricket, a Dutch Party, as well as a children’s party to be hosted jointly with The Barbados Fire Service.

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