Despite the unusually cold weather, several Vincentians on May 25 supported an annual fundraiser in Brooklyn to assist elementary and secondary schools in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The all-day affair, organized by the Internet-based group, VincyCares, was broadcast live on Brooklyn, New York’s “True Caribbean Radio,” 91.9 FM.
It attracted nationals from all walks of life at Standard Shippers on Clarendon Road.
Patrons dined on barbecue chicken and fish, washing them down with local drinks, while “ole-talking” and gyrating to the latest Caribbean soca and calypso hits.
“It’s more like a social fundraiser,” said Franklyn “Supadex” Richards, the newly-elected president of VincyCares, which claims it has been making “tremendous difference” in the lives of students at home, in an exclusive Caribbean Life interview.
“A lot of people came out to support us, despite the cold weather,” added Richards, a prominent, Brooklyn-based graphic artist, disclosing that the group plans to expand scholarships to less fortunate students at home.
Dahlia-Ann Howard-Lewis – who along with immediate past president, Kenley “Shortmus” John, are co-founders of the group – said, at the beginning of the academic year last year, VincyCares awarded five new scholarships: four to students entering secondary school for the first time and one to a second-year student.
John said the students have been awarded full, five-year scholarships to the tune of US$2,500 each.
He singled out Mrs. Christlyn Matthews-Child, Mr. and Mrs. Preston Johnson, and Mrs. Sara Toyloy for assisting the group in providing scholarships for the students.
At VincyCares’ anniversary dinner and gala award ceremony last December, at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn, Anita Botti, a former Peace Corps volunteer in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and current chief-of-staff at the United States Department of State’s Office for Global Women’s Issues, presented a US$2,500 check to VincyCares for an additional scholarship.
Howard-Lewis said a recent visit to the schools, as well as conversations with the students and parents, revealed that the students are “performing well.”
Richards said he is determined to fulfill VincyCares’ goal of providing “an avenue whereby all children will be able to attend school on a level playing field, especially when it comes to the tools that they need to be successful.
“We want to level the playing field,” he affirmed. “Lack of school supplies should not hinder a kid from achieving his or her education.”
United Nations’ Ambassador, Camillo Gonsalves, who attends the annual affair, described the fund-raising initiative as “one of the best” in the Diaspora in assisting students at home.
“They (VincyCares) have a record of success I’m very proud to be associated with,” he told Caribbean Life in a break from “ole-talking” with his compatriots.