December 2019 Update

Dear Coco Point Fund (CPF) Friends,

As we near the end of 2019, the CPF would like to update you on our successes this past year, our strategic vision and goals for 2020 and the future, and ask for your continued support. While our efforts have been successful, there is still much more to do!

Summary of 2019 Efforts

We accomplished a lot in 2019. We rebuilt several teachers’ homes, supplied paint for 40+ homes, rebuilt the three bus stops on the island, and participated along with the Barbuda Ocean Club (BOC), the Jumby Bay Fund (JBF) and the Mill Reef Fund(MRF) in both installing a 100,000 gallon water storage tank and refurbishing the existing desalination plant on the island. We are hopeful that, for the first time in over 2 years, the people will have fresh, quality running water 24/7 before!

We also paid to have electricity connected for most of the last 25% of people on the island who could not afford it. We estimate that more than 95% of the people now have electricity in their homes!

After having rebuilt the Nursery School and the Daycare Center in 2018, we partnered with Meteor Education in Florida to send two teacher trainers to the Nursery School for four days. We also sent new furniture, teaching materials, iPads, and much more so that we could start the process of 21st century “differentiated” learning in this school. The trainers also did an evaluation of the Holy Trinity middle school as we think about improving educational outcomes there as well! This initiative was a huge success!

We could not have accomplished all of this without our representatives on Barbuda, Bentham Lewis and Anne-Marie Gore!

SCHOLARSHIP FUND

Through our Scholarship Fund, we continue to support qualified students in attending universities in Antigua, the U.S., and around the world! With $38,000 in grants, we currently support 11 young men and women from Barbuda in furthering their post-secondary education. As more families return to Barbuda, we expect the demand for these scholarships to continue, if not grow!

2020 and Beyond

EXPANSION OF EDUCATIONAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN

As a board, we are still looking at many new projects. Our first focus will be to continue and expand our educational improvement plan. We are working to develop a five year plus plan (rolls out in stages) for grades 1-7. The cost of this initiative will be at least $1 million in total over the next five years. It will involve training 3x per year in each grade, new modem classroom design, furniture, technology and curriculum. We hope to get support from our other partners (JBF, MRF, BOC, and others). We believe that this initiative would bring lasting social and economic change for decades to come.

HURRICANE PROOF HOMES

Our other big initiative is to participate with JPF, MRF and others in building 20-30 new, two-bedroom, hurricane proof homes in a new “subdivision” that will be built on higher ground near the high school. This initiative will cost around $2-3 million (approximately $100,000 per home). We hope to participate in the building of three to five homes. JBF has committed to building fifteen to twenty homes.

OTHER PROJECTS UNDER CONSIDERATION

  • Building and outfitting a clinic in downtown for “non-life threatening” healthcare – medicine, insulin, general healthcare, etc. (estimated at $75,000-$100,000).
  • Rebuilding a small morgue. The island had a morgue prior to the hurricane that could handle three bodies. Unfortunately, it has not yet been rebuilt. (estimated at $80,000-$100,000 for two containers)
  • An open air market with about 20 “stands” where people can sell their goods to both local residents and tourists. (estimated at $150,000-$200,000).
  • Rebuilding a building and supporting a new initiative for after school programs for the children on the island.(estimated at $50,000-$75,000).
  • Continuing to help those in need with supplies (and labor) to rebuild their homes. (whatever you can give!)
  • Other projects that have yet to be determined.

Life on Barbuda,
Improved, But More to Do!

While life is certainly better than it was two years ago, it is nowhere near back to normal. Work is moving at a feverish pace at the Barbuda Ocean Club. Infrastructure is being built, lots are being sold, and home construction will begin soon. It will be spectacular when finished (just not like the Coco Point Lodge we all knew and loved!)

As for employment, work is available for the most part for all on the island that want to work.

Unfortunately, the relationship between the Antiguan Government and the people of Barbuda and their governing Council is not good.  Currently government workers are paid for only a week’s worth of work for each month they work – they are delayed in receiving 27 weeks worth of pay.   It is believed that there is very little money to pay for anything not only on Barbuda, but Antiqua as well.   

THERE IS MUCH MORE TO BE DONE – WE STILL NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

How to Donate

Please consider a donation to the Coco Point Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization committed to the Island and the people of Barbuda.

If you know of any other individuals or charitable foundations that might be interested in helping our mission, please let us know!

There are many ways that you can contribute to our much-needed projects. See below.

MAILING CHECKS
If you would like to mail a check to The CPF, please send checks to:
Coco Point Fund
c/o Joan Minshall
12 Oxford Street
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

WIRE FUNDS
If you would like to wire funds to The CPF, please cocopointfund@gmail.com for the wire instructions.

TRANSFERRING APPRECIATED STOCK
If you would like to transfer highly appreciated stock to The CPF, please contact cocopointfund@gmail.com for the wire instructions.

DONATE WITH PAYPAL
Donate with Paypal by using this link.  

Please remember that we NEVER co-mingle any of our funds with the Antiguan Government or the Barbuda Council. We are diligent shepherds of your very generous contributions. 

Thank you in advance for considering a donation this year end.  We wish you all the happiest and healthiest Holiday Season! Please visit our new and improved website at www.cocopointfund.org.

Sincerely,

The Coco Point Fund Board of Directors

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New Shoes for the Basketball Team

It’s always inspiring to see former Coco Point guests jump into action! Samantha is a basketball coach on Barbuda. She reached out with a need for new shoes for her basketball team.

An initiative to ship shoes to her was organized by Karen Hopp (former CCP Guest) and Emily Kunschner (Former CCP Guest and CCP Fund Board Member) Collaboration struck when Jim Wilkins, a CCP Board Member and former CCP guest, procured 15 pairs of basketball shoes at cost with the generous support and help of The Brewer Family, current owners of Wilkins Shoe Center of Winchester, VA.

The basketball shoes were packaged up and thanks to the Fund’s diligent contacts on the island coordination made and the shoes were delivered to Codrington this week.

A special thanks to again Jimmy Wilkins, Kendra Brewer and the following families who raised enough funds to purchase and ship the shoes!

Liz Anderson
Sue and Peter Carlson
Caroline & Don DeAngelo
Rhiannon & Mario Forlini
DeNora & Mark Getachew
Karen & Eric Hopp
The Kelly Family
Emily & John Kunschner

Good luck on the court!

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Battling the Water Shortage on Barbuda

Imagine having to plan your shower or the cooking of your meals around when you may have running water. How can an island in the midst of rebuilding itself manage a construction project or clean up after a painting initiative without enough water? How can its residents keep up with daily chores? How can the economy thrive? How can the people’s health remain safe?

As with many places in the world, the Caribbean countries can suffer from prolonged droughts that can put a strain on the water supplies in their nation. Barbuda is no stranger to these pressures. With the added destructive effects from Hurricane Irma, which occurred almost two years ago, Barbudans are still struggling with access to consistent running water throughout their day. Very often, in order to deal with the shortage, a water rationing system means that running water is only available every two hours.

There are several reasons for this. The water system on Barbuda only has enough storage from the desalination plant for approximately 8,000 gallons. The system itself is also plagued with leaks that require repairs and replacement from the utility company.

In addition, the water quality is also very poor.

” Very often, in order to deal with the shortage, a water rationing system means that running water is only available every two hours.”

Craig Henderson, Coco Point Fund Board Member

Coco Point Fund, in conjunction with the Jumby Bay Fund, the Mill Reef Fund and the Discovery Land Company are working together towards a solution. The group is very close to putting a complete plan in place to build a concrete base, install a new tank, and repair or replace all the broken parts that support the system. The Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) is reviewing the proposal now and approval is imminent.

If you’d like to donate money to our organization to work alongside APUA to address the issue of the water shortage please visit our Donate Page today.

Photo Credit: Mohammid Walbrook

Feature Photo Credit: Water.org

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Congrats to Crystal on Graduating from Caribbean Nazarene College!

The Board was thrilled to receive the follow letter from Crystal Hopkins this week. Crystal received a scholarship from the William Cody Scholarship Fund.

The scholarship fund was created to help assist worthy Barbudan students with partial scholarships to colleges and universities around the world.  It was set up in order to provide educational opportunities for young residents of Barbuda wishing to pursue education beyond the level of education offered on Antigua and Barbuda and who intend to return to Barbuda following completion of their studies to give something back to their community.

Crystal has received her diploma from Caribbean Nazarene College with a degree in Early Childhood Education. We are so proud of you Crystal and excited to hear you will be contributing to the next generation! 

Letter from Crystal

William Cody Kelly Memorial Scholarship,

It is with a spirit of gladness that I express my gratitude towards the Board Members of the William Cody Kelly Memorial Scholarship Fund. I attended the Caribbean Nazarene College for 4 years to attain a Bachelor’s degree in General Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Care and Education and a minor in Psychology and Counseling. This journey did not only focus on academics because I was also given the opportunity to mature as a young adult. I also benefited by being exposed to different cultures, meeting persons from all over the Caribbean and also forming long lasting bonds of friendship. I graduated with a 3.6 GPA and cum laude honors. With sincere thanks, I am confident that I will make a solid contribution to the education department of Antigua and Barbuda. Thank you once again for assisting me in achieving one of my goals.

Yours respectfully,
Crystal Hopkins

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More Freshly Painted Homes from the House Painting Initiative

The Coco Point Fund initiated an island wide painting initiative last year and freshly painted homes are rolling in! These homes have taken advantage of the supplies provided likes like paint, brushes, rollers and paint sprayers.

Approximately 40 Barbuda residents wanted to participate in the first round. We encourage the continued use of the supplies and are pleased to show the latest results. The cheerful colors are bringing hope and happiness to the island and the pursuit of more rebuilding!

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Summary of the Teacher Training Initiative Week

The teacher training initiative has been completed and as Bentham Lewis, our lead director on the island said, “this is the best thing that’s happened on Barbuda in the last 20 years!!”

The teachers arrived on Monday morning and spent the first day with the teachers alone. As it was Easter vacation the children were not in school yet the teachers worked all day Monday thru Thursday.  They discussed what they wanted to accomplish and what they wanted to do with the kids.

Although the students were on break, children came on Tuesday and Wednesday so that the trainers could spend time in a real setting showing them how to improve their teaching skills.  The children were wonderful and often times entirely focused on the trainers.  The trainers stressed the importance of ‘differentiated instruction’  which is a modern educational approach that treats each student as an individual learner – advancing at their own pace.

Much of the success was also due to the new environment, the newly furnished rooms, and the additional laptop and 5 tablets ( 1 for each classroom), along with other supplies that the trainers brought with them.  The high tech equipment will be stored in a safe that will be installed this week.

As the week progressed each teacher worked to learn how to write and implement lesson plans, and then have an opportunity,  the following day, to use them for instruction planning while receiving hands on constructive criticism by the trainers and the ability to adjust in the real life setting. 

Wednesday afternoon the trainers met with a group of 20+ interested parents and talked about how they can help their children by continuing the learning at home.  The parents were in awe of the support and direction and very appreciative!!

Ending their week, the trainers were able to visit Holy Trinity School, meeting with several teachers, and touring the facility.   This was followed by a lovely send off lunch at the Barbuda Belle and a brief tour of the frigate birds. 

From the trainers perspective, they shared it was the most rewarding trip they have ever done.  They fell in love with the island and its people.  The teachers are now more inspired than ever to teach and we hope that future training trips will be orchestrated to continue to make an impact!

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Teach Trainer at the PreSchool

Teacher trainers arrived on the island this week from the US.  We were thrilled to have them consulting for a week to train the teachers in our newly renovated PreSchool.  The Coco Point Fund shipped lots of furniture and rugs and other materials to bring the nursery school up to modern educational standards. In addition, the teachers arrived with lots of laptops, tablets and supplies to help create a more robust curriculum.  The goal of the Coco Point Fund with this initiative is to improve educational outcomes for generations to come!  If this initiative is successful, we will likely commit to doing similar improvements to the holy trinity school.

The training has also highlighted how important the design of a classroom is to educational outcomes. In the previous space, the children were sitting at simple tables in a stark learning environment.  The addition of new rugs and chairs has created a vastly improved learning environment!  Teachers and students are much more focused on learning.  And modern teaching methods, such as differentiated learning, are now part of the learning process. 

Special thanks to MeTeor Education and Home Depot for being such GREAT partners of the Coco Point Fund!

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Daycare Center Completed

As word spread of our work on the preschool, the Coco Point Fund became more coordinated with all the other charitable funds and NGO’s working in Barbuda. In particular, we developed a strong working and economic partnership with three such funds; The Jumby Bay Fund,  Mill Reef Fund and Paradise Found’s Barbuda Relief Fund.

The Daycare Center had been badly damaged by Hurricane Irma. It’s second-story was totally destroyed. We set our sights on rebuilding this facility.  Thanks to a couple, who were long time Coco Point Lodge guests, we secured a lead donation. We then asked the three funds noted above to equally share in the cost of the reconstruction. Once again we turned to Griff Walker for help. In addition we worked with Chad Alexander, a Barbudan architect who received scholarship assistance from the Coco Point Fund. (Look for a future story on our blog about how the Coco Point Scholarship Fund helped Chad succeed and how he is now giving back to his fellow Barbudans!)

We contracted with Griff Walker in late June 2018 to rebuild only the first floor. Home Depot again supplied most of our building materials at very discounted prices. Work started on September 18, 2018 and the facility was completed in January 2019. The quality of the workmanship is outstanding. You will notice in the photos that we kept the exterior cement stairs to the second story so as to retain the option of rebuilding it in the future if a community need surfaces. In early February 2019 we had a small ceremony handing over the keys to the Barbuda Council. The furniture and learning materials are expected to arrive in late March. The before and after pictures reflect the completion of another on schedule and on budget project.

In the coming months we will post updates, photos and stories once the kids return.

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First Reveal in House Painting Initiative

In partnership with the Jumby Bay Fund and Mill Reef Fund, The Coco Point Fund initiated an island wide painting initiative. Collectively, we have supplied the paint, brushes, rollers and paint sprayers to approximately 40 Barbuda residents who wanted to participate in the first round. Connie was a longtime employee of Coco Point Lodge. She was part of the main dining room staff and loved by all of the guests. . She is enjoying the bright cheery red update to her home!


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