Spotlight on Our Scholarship Recipients

Dear Coco Point Fund Friends and Donors, 

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.

EZEKIEL FRANCIOS
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.”

 

STARR GEORGE
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!

 

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

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!

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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