Education has always been a key mission of the Coco Point Fund. Helping candidates to pursue their education, fulfill their passions and someday be able to return to the island and help their community is one of the most important uses of donations. Riccardo Nedd is an example of this, who not only attended University but went on for his Master’s degree. He has returned to the Island and is now the Operations Manager at the Barbuda Ocean Club. We received this letter from him that we would like to share, and wish him continued success as his professional journey begins!
“It fills my heart with much warmth knowing throughout the years Coco Point has been instrumental in my life.”
Dear Mr. Pierce and Mr. Reed,
I want to express my humblest appreciation to the Coco Point Trust Fund for every assistance received throughout my entire academic journey. Very recently I was conferred a Master’s of Science Degree in Human Resource Management and Development, from the University of Salford.
It fills my heart with much warmth knowing throughout the years Coco Point has been instrumental in my life: from my early days as a child when a gentleman (who to this day I wish I could get the opportunity to meet again) from Coco Point gave me my first experience at catching a fish on a rod; to the many assistance from my college days, all the way through to the completion of my masters degree.
Permit me to also say that my recent degree has opened the door for me to gain employment on Barbudan soil as the operations manager at the now Barbuda Ocean Club (formerly Coco Point).
As I say thank you once more, I pray the fund will continue to assist the dreams of many young Barbudans like myself.
The Fund was thrilled to contribute to BECOMING 2021, a concept put together by Directors Cleo Isaac, Catie Kohler, Allyson Trunzer to empower the young girls of Barbuda. Girls attended camp over a three week period and underwent intrapersonal and interpersonal development processes.
The campers learned about healthy eating, meditation, participated in art projects, dancing and carpentry lessons, received mentoring and empowerment skills, gave back to the community with a beach cleanup, and got some pampering with hair and makeup! The finale of the camp was a Summer Recital performed by the campers (program details shared below.)
The Directors reflected on the experience:
“Daily we could see their excitement, willingness and confidence growing. The girls participated in a showcase on Friday, presenting their work through the realms of theatre, dance, art, media and music. Laughter, tears and words were shared as the girls expressed their love and gratitude for the camp. This experience is truly something that they will never forget, and because of YOU, it was made possible. THANK YOU SO MUCH!”
Photos and video footage will be airing on the Barbuda Channel. We are grateful to the directors and all the volunteers that are nourishing Barbuda’s community.
BECOMING SUMMER RECITAL July 30, 2021 I Abundant Life Ministries Directors: Cleo Isaac, Catie Kohler, Allyson Trunzer Peer Leaders: Danielle Daley, Shakira James, Zemelia Thompson
WELCOMING REMARKS Ms. Cleo Issac
“NOTHING MORE” – Alternate Routes
Trinity Ashton, Je’Kyla John, Zara Walters, Kzon John Jules, Keandrae Lee, Xiomora Morris
We Hope You Enjoyed the Show! The cast of BECOMING wish to extend a heart felt “Thank You” to our sponsors:
Coco Point Fund & Barbuda Ocean Club!
BECOMING acknowledges the generous community contributions from:
Mrs. Jenita Cuffy Mr. & Mrs. Francois Ms. Anne-Marie Gore Ms. Adounisha Henry Ms. Ella Hamilton Ms. Paula Henry Mr. McElroy Jeffrey Mr. Nigel Joseph Mr. Mark Kohler Ms. Kelcina George & Mr. Oliver Trunzer Mrs. Darlene Parker-Beazer Mrs. Sharima Myers Ms. Rishella Webber Mrs. Sundara Punter Ms. Sylvia Walker Nedd
As another school year approaches it’s end, we’ve been reflecting on all of our scholarships recipients and where they are in the world!
Each year the Coco Point Fund continues to ask for scholarship donations to allow more candidates to pursue their education. As it operates in it’s 22nd year it continues to be a critical resource. We have assisted 25 students in the last 5 years.
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.
It is truly amazing to see where students from Barbuda study, and how broad the subjects are. From education to hospitality, to computer science, to finance and medicine, students are gaining incredible knowledge that can be brought back to the Island to support its growth. The range of countries and schools is as far and wide as the subjects with students at institutions like Shenandoah University, Walden University, University of the West Indies, University of the Southern Caribbean, York University and Universidad Escula Latino Americana de Medicina.
We congratulate the following students below who are pursuing their studies – keep up the good work! And thank you for your continued donations making it possible for students like this to grow and return to Barbuda to help the Island prosper.
University of West Indies, Five Islands Campus
Ezekiel is a great recipient who touched base with the Fund recently. He explained his work creating a Constitution at his campus and his outreach efforts. He explains here:
"At the UWI Five Islands Campus and every other UWI Campus we have a Guild of Students. I had the great opportunity to create our Constitution, which outlines all the roles and responsibilities of each and every member of the Guild of students. So, essentially I would have created my own roles and responsibilities. The Constitution was so well done that it is in the works currently to be adopted as the foundation for a "One Guild" Constitution, this is basically a constitution to govern all of the campuses as one unit."
"As Vice President the main role I had was to foster relations among students through the creation of Clubs and Societies. I was ecstatic at the fact that during the year we were able to successfully start about 15. These have been a huge success so far, with many students saying it has allowed them to experience University on a more social level."
"Another role as Vice President is to have different community outreach programs. The outreach program that I am most proud of is one that has helped the students in Barbuda. Basically what was done is that we sell merchandise based on Five Islands Campus and a percentage of the proceeds go towards the most improved Primary and Secondary school student to help with school supplies and other needs. Another program I have started is the Internship program to enable our students to receive valuable work experience while studying."
"The last project that I had recently concluded was a Continuity plan. This plan is to ensure that even after our current Guild is gone that a foundation is there to guide incoming Guilds for years to come."
SUPPLIES TO THE ELDERLY AND SINGLE PARENT HOUSEHOLDS
Pictured below was another outreach projects that Ezekiel was involved in. “We were packing supplies that we received from a sponsorship with the supermarket, First Choice in Antigua. We had a lot of supplies such as small food stuffs and sanitation equipment. Each bag varied depending on the size of the family that we were distributing the bags to. We worked with someone from the Five Islands community to find those who were deemed to be most in need, with special focus on the elderly and single parent, low income households. Then the same day, directly after those pictures were taken we distributed the packages around the community.
The first picture with the 3 people, included myself in the red and the man in the chair was our principal at the time, Stafford Griffith, and the other person is the Guild President, Caleb Gardiner. The 2nd picture included the Guild members that were present and helped with the packaging and distribution of the bags.”
Waldorf University, Journalism
I started Waldorf University on January 20th 2021. With my small time there for that semester I’ve been involved in a series of events like taste of the world where students come together to display a cuisine from their country to the school.
I’ve also been a part of the world student’s association where students have a place to come together and have fun and learn about different cultures and learn new things.
In that short time in WSA, my work didn’t go unnoticed, I was then crown Public Relations Journalist at the end of the semester.
I can’t wait to start next semester to continue doing my best!
While acts of charity, kindness and generosity are not done for acknowledgment or applause, letters like the one we received from Clifton Francois not only inspire us to continue the work we do but remind us of the needs on the island and how impactful we can be!
Mr. Francois of the Barbuda Channel was gifted broadcasting equipment purchased by the Cocopoint Fund in order to upgrade his system to be compatible with current systems worldwide. After receiving the equipment Mr. Francois emailed our President, Mike Smith the following:
“You all continue to bring smiles to Barbudans with all you have been doing. When you all came I really wanted to give up but this just really let me feel like someone really cares. May you all continue to be blessed and stay safe. Thank you again.”
Please read his formal letter below and if you’d like to see more from Barbuda Channel check them out on Facebook!
Remember your donations are so very meaningful and are changing lives!
LETTER FROM CLIFTON FRANCOIS, BARBUDA CHANNEL
From: Clifton Francois & Barbuda Channel Team. Date: 12th February, 2021 Subject: Greatly appreciate your invaluable contribution.
It has been said that hard work and determination will pay off one day and certainly today is like a payback day for all the many years of my long labour in Barbuda. Words cannot express how I felt that day when I reached out Cocopoint Fund because everything we had was just failing and it was like there was no light at the end.
After reaching out to him, it was surprising to learn that Mr. Mike Smith and his team had made a visit to Barbuda.
I was shocked that without hesitation you all came by the studio, saw what we were doing and promised that you will help to get it done. Today along with Catie (Ocean Club) and Annmarie and Bentham I was elated that your promise came to fruition and was made a reality, a dream come through.
Now, with thanks to you all, the Barbuda Channel’s quality will be like that of all the other stations.
I want to say keep doing what you all are doing and keep making people happy and making what seems like almost impossible goals, be reached.
I will never ever forget this day. I will keep praying strength for you all and that you all will be able to help many more people in the future.
Thank you all! Thank you all! l thank you all and I will never ever forget this contribution. Yours Truly, Clifton Francois
Dear Coco Point Fund Friends and Donors, While many of us hunkering down with blustering winter storms outside, our beloved island of Barbuda is glowing! We thought in addition to a cup of hot chocolate maybe some of these photos would warm your heart.
The house painting supplies sent by our Fund have produced some wonderfully cheerful homes on the Island, restored to their glory before the storm. Enjoy these happy homes and some of the contributing faces who put our supplies to good use!!
Remember that your donations are always used promptly and to make a real impact. Our current focus is dental equipment and medical testing equipment as the Wellness Center nears completion as well as shelters at the dock. Your continued support is crucial – please consider giving today!
Twenty families in Barbuda were moved into newly repaired or rebuilt homes last month under the the European Union (EU) funded Housing Support to Barbuda project. Five of the houses required major repairs while fifteen new homes were built to replace ones which were destroyed in Hurricane Irma. The milestone represents the completion of the first phase of the project which is being led by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
These new homes should be much better able to withstand hurricanes in the future. We are hoping to see more homes built as the program continues.
The Fund will be assisting with two structures that need updating. The Fund will provide materials to assist the Council with these projects, while the Council will manage the labor. The two structures will be the Agricultural Ministry Building and the Public Works structure where many important vehicles are kept like the trucks, graders, etc for work around the island.
Graders are a heavy piece of machinery most commonly used in civil construction and roadworks creating smooth and flat surfaces. The one kept at the Public Works plant will also be receiving new tires from the Fund.
“Barbuda is an extremely special place. It is home. As more issues happen around the world, I notice its innocence even more. The people, the culture, the environment. It is a community that I am proud to be a part of and want to help expand.”
When we first saw Allyson Trunzer’s latest dance VIDEOwe knew that we wanted to have her share more of her story, her passion for dance, her love of Barbuda and how she came to receive a scholarship to a US college from the Coco Point Fund!
Allyson is a vibrant, determined woman who always had clarity on where she wanted both her dance career and educational horizons to reach. She has successfully trained as a dancer in New York, Toronto and Antiqua/ Barbuda and is currently enrolled in Shenandoah University working on a Bachelor of Arts in Dance program, as well as looking to add the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program to her studies. Allyson is also involved in the [Not Just] Women’s Center at the University focused on sexual health and assault help. She has performed in the Vagina Monologues, the Lucinda Childs’ Concerto and has choreographed a piece for ShenCoLab titled Mobility (movement, small orchestra, film, audience participation) about a friend’s transition to a wheelchair. Allyson is the recipient of the Black Excellence New Student Award, the Global Citizen Project Recipient and the The Gabriella Miller Award for 2019 giving to an outstanding First Year Seminar Student.
We caught up with her while in home from school in Barbuda during COVID-19 to hear her wonderful story that led her to audition for the dance program at Shenandoah University only one month after discussing the offer from some of our very special board members to sponsor her education there. Enjoy the interview!
Tell us about yourself!
I was born in Toronto, Canada, and grew up in Barbuda for part of my childhood. Growing up, I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and a dance choreographer. Upon graduating from an arts high school, I completed a dance certification at Ballet Creole’s Professional Training Program, studied in New York, and started dancing with Afro-contemporary/theatre companies in Toronto, and teaching classes in Toronto, and Antigua/ Barbuda. In recent years, I’ve been wanting to expand my horizons, and the opportunity to study at Shenandoah University came at the perfect time.
How did you first encounter the Coco Point Fund? Is there a story about meeting them?
I have known of the Coco Point Fund for many years as some of my family members have attended university abroad, because of their sponsorship. I met a few of the members, James R. Wilkins Jr, Veronica Wilkins, Michael Smith, Werner Minshall, Joan Minshall, Mollie Schmitz and Joseph Schmitz, in February 2019 during their stay in Barbuda. While assisting the group, Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins offered their sponsorship to attend Shenandoah University in the fall. Within a month, I visited them in Winchester, Virginia, completed an audition for the Bachelor of Arts in Dance program, and enrolled for the Fall 2019 semester.
Did you always feel you wanted to go to school abroad and off of Barbuda? How did Shenandoah University come about?
I’ve always wanted to attend school, however it was something I’d put off for a few years. I wanted to have a dance career first, get the professional experience, then return to school and study something new. That was very important to me. When Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins offered for me to go to school, it was the right time, as I was ready for the next transition.
What is your major?
I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Dance program, and looking to add the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program to my studies.
What was it like when you first got to school there? How was it to adjust?
I didn’t find a huge problem with adjusting to life at Shenandoah University. I’ve lived in Toronto for a long time, and there were a few similarities. Everyone at the school was very friendly. It was difficult being away from my family, and friends, but I also believe it was a short-term sacrifice for a long term benefit.
You were recently in a video produced by Mark Valino, who has created the Moments of Movement project. What is that project about?
Yes! Mark Valino is a filmmaker from Toronto who features creatives of music and movement, and uses film as a catalyst to tell stories. There are no cuts. The movement is all improvised meaning it is made up on the spot, and Mark is there, by your side. He explained it to be like a dance, between the mover and the camera. Watch the video here
We heard that you were named “outstanding Freshman” in a class of over 500 students at Shenandoah University. Congratulations! What did that honor feel like?
I am extremely honored to have been one of two recipients of The Gabriella Miller First-Year Student Award 2019.
The Gabriella Miller Award is awarded to a First Year Seminar student who is recognized for their love of learning, and contribution to classes. The award was named after a young girl who passed away due to cancer, but wished to attend university before her passing. She came to Shenandoah University, attended classes, and received an honorary degree for her accomplishment. Since then, her mother has funded this award in honor of her daughter.
I continue to be moved, motivated, and inspired by Gabriella Miller’s story.
How are you coping with this crisis in Barbuda?
School has been keeping me very busy. Barbuda is naturally quiet, however it has brought about a different energy. I’m just happy to be with my family at this time.
What does Barbuda mean to you?
Barbuda is an extremely special place. It is home. As more issues happen around the world, I notice its innocence even more. The people, the culture, the environment. It is a community that I am proud to be a part of and want to help expand.
Where do you see yourself fulfilling your career after school?
I will definitely be moving back to Barbuda in the future!
We would like join in acknowledging the generosity of the Jumby Bay Fund for delivering supplies to Antiqua & Barbuda earlier this month. Medical supplies valued at more than one million EC dollars arrived at VC Bird International’s Runway.
The Minister for Health was very grateful and thanked them for the vital supplies as well as the contribution from Sir Martin Franklin, a homeowner and Board Member for the fund, for the use of his plane, noting it would not have been possible without his assistance. The Minister mentioned trading links have been interrupted and countries in the carribean are expereincing great difficulties getting transportation to delivery vital supplies to fight COVID-19.