The Collette Foundation enthusiastically announces the Little Rascals School, located in South Africa, is officially open! Having worked closely with the Knysna Education Trust, we were able to revamp their initial building and develop a safe, stable and modern establishment. Focusing on Early Childhood Development Centers (ECD), the Knysna Education Trust assists 26 facilities in hopes of providing disadvantaged children with the opportunity to obtain a solid education. Through their support, children receive an integrated education giving them the chance to rightfully benefit and build from their ever-progressing surroundings. Now the children of Little Rascals will be able to participate in preschool activities with a more focused approach due to their motivational atmosphere. We look forward to hearing more about the benefits of the new school!
Archive for the ‘ Team Updates ’ Category
Having been in partnership with JWOC (Journeys Within Our Community) since 2008, the Collette Foundation is enthusiastic about future projects with the Cambodian site as previous collaborative efforts have proven to be rewarding from every angle. In the year 2012, the Collette Foundation was able to fund JWOC in essential projects such as the completion of a community center for the village, the implementation of library activities, installation of wells to provide a clean water system for the entire village and the start of new children’s classes rooted in creativity and education.
With the completion of the community center came not only a safe and secure building to meet, but the building was designed to include both classrooms and bathrooms for the village. Both the library and community center are home to education regarding learning resources targeted to those less than 8 years old and hygiene education, in which additionally provided hygienic kits for children. Most importantly, funding from the Collette Foundation enabled JWOC to install a clean water system. The infant mortality rate in Cambodia is 43 per 1,000, significantly higher than the United States. Through the installation of wells, the village will be able to exercise a higher level of hygiene and continue to improve their sanitation through the use of clean water.
The funding provided in 2012 by the Collette Foundation will continue to help in the year of 2013 by supporting the installation of four more wells in a rural village and the continuation of the under 8’s classes. We hope to continue our partnership with JWOC and further our support of future projects regarding its education and health.
***This is a guest post from Brett Walker, General Manager at Collette Vacations!***
The Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) connects children, ages 5-12, with the splendor of Vancouver’s natural environment. Funding from the Collette Foundation and support from Collette staff has resulted in even greater success in 2012! Having just completed our second year of partnership with SPES, we are proud to acknowledge the achievements thus far as a result of a collaborative effort. In 2011, 400 children and their families took part in various activities and excursions within the Park hosted by SPES. In 2012, that number grew to more than 800! Visits to the park by school children through the assisted funding of the Collette Foundation grew from 75 to 154 in just one year.
SPES offers inspiring events such as “Explorer Day” field trips as well as weekend exploration days where children and their families spend 2 hours of exploration within the park, learning about native plants and trees, animals and conservation of the local environment.
What child doesn’t like to jump in puddles or run through forest trails pretending they are a great explorer! I’m proud to say, funding from the Collette Foundation has enabled SPES staff to offer educational outreach programs to children in disadvantaged areas, but more importantly have had the ability to offer subsidies to schools so that children have the opportunity to visit and explore the Park!
As the philosopher Lao Tze once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Through continued funding from the Collette Foundation in 2013 and efforts of both SPES staff and volunteers, the quest to engage and teach children about the wonders of nature will continue.
*This is a guest post from Customer Quality Assurance Supervisor, Laura Schmeltz and Product Coordinator, Jennifer Hesford at Collette Vacations!*
Team Britain is excited to report the first group of students sponsored by the Collette Foundation visited Shakespeare’s Birthplace on November 30, 2012! The class traveled from Nuneaton, a town less than 30 miles from Shakespeare’s birthplace. They participated in a hands-on workshop, “Willingly to School”, allowing the children the opportunity to travel back in time and spend the day as a child in Tudor Stratford.
When the class arrived, they were helped into Tudor costumes by their teachers. The teachers saw how much fun the children were having and did not want to be left out; they decided to dress up in Tudor attire as well! Our contact at Shakespeare’s Birthplace tells us, “(The teachers) found the biggest children’s costumes they could and put them on! Although the skirts were a little short, they still looked lovely and everyone has given us such positive feedback.”
Currently, there are three sponsored classes scheduled to visit. Shakespeare’s Birthplace is in the process of scheduling additional students for the remainder of the school year. We are thrilled that this project is off and running and we look forward to receiving feedback from the students and teachers who will soon visit.
The Collette Foundation received a warming Christmas card this year from our Peruvian site, Hogar de Mercedes de Jesus Molina Orphanage. Partnering with the Peruvian Hearts, the Collette Foundation has been able to support orphaned girls along with providing a daily lunch program allowing for disadvantaged children in the area to receive a hot meal.
The card was directed to our site ambassador and tour manager, Kevin Ferguson. He kindly translated the card to share the kind words.
Season Greetings and thanks for all the support we received from you every time you come to visit our home. Also, the girls join this greeting and send you their fond memories, especially those who are finishing high school in May and are grateful for everything that you have done, because you’re always like a father and a friend that they will never forget. With all these feelings and wishes you a nice Christmas and Happy New Year filled with God’s blessings.
- Hermana Yudith
Upon sharing the Christmas card, Ferguson recalled how much he cherished his time spent at the foundation site.
“The girls are growing up in front of my eyes and I still cry (after countless visits) when I leave those kids,” he said.
We love how invested our ambassadors and teams become in their sites and are grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside the Peruvian Hearts to support Hogar de Mercedes de Jesus Molina Orphanage.
Team Mexico’s site, La Granja Hogar in Chihuahua, is increasingly growing and with the help and support of the Collette Foundation, their needs are being aided. Celebrating their 50th year, La Granja Hogar has extended their embrace to 200 orphaned and abandoned children allowing them a place to be loved. With the assistance of the Collette Foundation for almost seven years now, La Granja Hogar has thrived in an environment that has provided some difficulty both environmentally and economically. With the hard work and dedication of their retiring Director, Sister Ana Ramirez, the boarding school developed into a stable home providing an array of education, activities and life skills.
“Sister Ana Ramirez is retiring this year, but will stay on a little while to help the new director settle in,” Mexico team member Chris Cahill said. “I had the chance to meet Sister Ana when I went on a trip several years ago and I could tell that she just loved the children as her own. She had such a great enthusiasm about her and the minute we started talking about the home and the children, her face lit up and she had a beaming smile! We wish Sister Ana the best in her next adventure in life and look forward to getting to know and working with her replacement, Ma. Antonieta Marquez Horta.”
The Collette Foundation welcomes La Granja Hogar’s new director and is excited to continue their efforts to give the children a well-balanced lifestyle.
The Collette Foundation continues to expand its philanthropic hand to disadvantaged children throughout the world; their next stop, Ireland. Collette Vacations passengers who travel on the Countryside of the Emerald Isle will have the opportunity to participate in the betterment of local youths via education.
**This is a guest post from Patricia Grady, Operations and Customer Service Specialist at Collette Vacations!**
I am pleased to announce that we will be visiting the Frank McCourt Museum, a new project for our Ireland Foundation!
This is the second site in Ireland and we felt strongly that this museum, where the famed author Frank McCourt went to school, will be an inspiration to local youth in the Limerick area. Sponsored by the Collette Foundation, disadvantaged youth will learn various skills linked to literature such as the music of language and the art of storytelling.
Students will see that there are opportunities for everyone despite socio-economic background and will be encouraged to follow their aspirations. Students will understand their local heritage and its importance in their personal development. The curator of the museum is passionate about developing the scope of the museum’s potential by partnering with the Collette Foundation. In the words of the museum’s curator and artist, Una Heaton, “If we get the right funding, we could turn the large rooms downstairs into permanent class rooms; it will be a dream come true. I know Frank would love to be here to see his old school used again, to educate young kids.”
The theme of the Frank McCourt Museum relates to one of Limerick’s most disadvantaged groups who reached the heights of literature in winning the much coveted Pulitzer Prize and translates into a major attraction for Irish communities and tourists, particularly those with a literary bent. A significant choice of building, here Frank and one of his siblings attended Leamy School as children. This particular area is recognized as the “Georgian Quarter” and is being promoted as such by state agencies and City Hall. The district itself is one of Limerick’s finest with the advantage of having well-kept buildings in this environmentally friendly zone. Leamy House (formerly Leamy School) was established in 1843 as a dedicated school for poor boys. It remained so for over 100 years, when it was purchased by the Heaton family to set up a factory manufacturing men’s clothing. In the 1990’s, the Leamy House occupancy switched to office rentals until July 2011, when finally and appropriately, its curator, Una Heaton, set up the museum which also serves as an educational resource centre and works on projects in conjunction with second level schools, the Paul Partnership (People Against Unemployment Ltd.) and the Limerick Youth Service, all of which have well established track records.
As an educational resource, the Frank McCourt Museum will identify 15 young people from marginalized areas in Limerick who will be given the opportunity of participating in workshops designed to encourage them to develop additional skills of a cultural nature. Frank McCourt’s inspiring story of survival coupled with his meteoric rise in the world of literature is a testament to the strength and tenacity of the human spirit. Part of this will touch those involved in “A Limerick Project”, sponsored by the Collette Foundation.
The Collette Foundation wants to congratulate two members of the Collette family – the Foundation Project Ambassador for Costa Rica, Damaris Borgas, and Dan Sullivan — on their marriage today! Together, they visited (and blogged about) the two schools that we support in Costa Rica, last July, the Escuela Jaime Braun in Tierras Morenas and Escuela Ujarras in Sarapiqui. They are both committed to giving back and traveling the world; we wish them the best.
It’s that time again for the Tourism Cares event where volunteers from travel organizations industry-wide come together in the unified mission to help preserve, conserve and protect tourism related sites in America that need care and rejuvenation. In the past, many Collette volunteers have rolled up their sleeves to help in Ellis Island, Gettysburg, Mount Vernon, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, New Orleans, Mystic Seaport and more sites.
Dan Sullivan, our CEO, is Chairman of the Board for Tourism Cares and Collette’s presence at each event is quite sizable. This year, in addition to a great donation, 25 Collette Foundation volunteers head to Florida for Pensacola for the restoration project that takes place from March 29 – March 30. The Tourism Cares Website sums up the project best in its project tag line:
“38 painting projects to complete… 8 landscaping projects over 8 acres of land… 1 full-time maintenance worker on staff… 350 volunteers to get it done in 1 day… priceless.”
Cassie Stetkiewicz, a Collette Foundation ambassador and volunteer is excited to get involved this year. “This will be my sixth Tourism Cares event. I can honestly say this organization has me hooked on helping to preserve the historic places throughout our country. The Pensacola project this year in particular is special to me because I grew up in a seaside town and have always loved lighthouses. I am excited about being a part of preserving one, so that others can enjoy it for years to come. The events are a lot of hard work, but it’s so worth it in the end.”
To read about Tourism Cares for Pensacola 2012, click here.
At our annual company-wide New Year meeting this past Friday, Collette’s executive team and directors shared successes of 2011 with employees (including the banner year our Foundation enjoyed) — and they also launched a new Collette Foundation video that emphasizes the recent merging of our former local foundation (the Alice I. Sullivan Foundation) with our internationally-focused Collette Foundation. Now the two foundations are one, unifying our philanthropic mission. This video gets to the heart of some of local initiatives. Enjoy!