Grace Bay Resorts launched its community outreach program in October 2009 with a host of specific initiatives starting with its Adopt-a-School Program in South & North Caicos. This initiative will bring badly needed school materials, furniture and other support to four schools including Iris Stubbs Primary School and Marjorie Basden High School in South Caicos and Charles Hubert James Primary School and Adelaide Oemler Primary in North Caicos. The Foundation has and will be making assessment trips to both North and South Caicos at least quarterly to conduct analysis, make assessments of items donated and needed and to see how students are coping in their refurbished environment. In addition, in an interesting twist to its tourism product the company intends to offer its guests the opportunity to participate in the quarterly visits to the schools as well as volunteer time and resources to the effort. This type of initiative, known in the industry as “volun-tourism”, has grown in popularity as travelers increasingly are looking for ways to give back to the communities that they visit around the world.
The Community Foundation is also involved in the redevelopment of the Bight Community Park, establishment of a scholarship program for two of its staff and one individual from the four schools and breakfast programs for local schools in Providenciales and in community revitalization with the Roundabout Project. Mark Durliat, CEO of Grace Bay Resorts commented, “Our goal is very simple; we wish to be a catalyst to increased community volunteer efforts by the private sector. Many, many companies and individuals in these Islands contribute huge efforts to this community. We wish to be known as one of these firms and encourage any others in the Turks & Caicos to join us in this effort. By combining our collective resources, we can have an enormous impact for the community as a whole. As an example, we have already seen random acts of incredible kindness shown by some of our residential owners in the form of a donation of books and financial resources to the adopted school program. We are hopeful others will contact us to see how we can, together, make a more meaningful impact.”