White House students benefit from extra lessons, mentorship
Sandals Regional Public Relations Manager Ian Spencer conducting a mentorship session with students from the White House community in St James

SANDALS has partnered with a community member to help shape the lives of a cadre of youngsters in the seaside community of White House in St James.

For the past three months Beulah England-Kelly, in tandem with Sandals Resorts in the Montego Bay region, has maintained an after-school tutorship and mentorship project for 30 youngsters aimed at not only improving their grades in school but also grooming them to be future leaders.

“The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted our students in the White House community,” said England-Kelly. “They did not adjust well to online schooling and not being able to be physically in the classroom caused many to regress. That was why we started the mentorship programme with the aid of Sandals.”

Three months ago the community stalwart contracted three teachers to administer classes for the children after regular school and the programme has progressed fairly well.

Enter Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean, two neighbouring resorts which have been extremely active within the community. The resorts have not only been a part of the extra lessons project but have also started a weekly mentorship programme utilising the skills of team members and managers to motivate the youth to strive to always elevate themselves.

A number of Fridays during the three-month period managers and team members conducted weekly mentorship sessions and shared gifts and refreshments with the eager youngsters who have come to look forward to the interaction with the hospitality workers.

“The time we spend with these youngsters are extremely precious to us and them, so it’s a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Sandals’ Regional Public Relations Manager Ian Spencer, who has conducted several mentorship sessions. “We always tell them never let where they are from define where they are going, and we implore them to reach for the skies.”

Spencer, who is one of the organisers of the mentorship sessions, noted the positive impact the programme has had on not only the youth but also members of the adult population as well. “During our mentorship sessions a number of adults are always present to hear the message we are bringing as well as assist in the process.”

The extra lessons run weekdays in the community while the mentorship sessions are held on Friday, with different members of the Sandals team offering their expertise.

“We are extremely happy to have the partnership with Sandals,” England-Kelly said. “The Sandals team did not hesitate to come on board, and not just with refreshment, but also the staff are giving of their time and life experience.”

General managers at Sandals Royal Caribbean Dawn Smith and Sandals Montego Bay Christopher Elliot said they fully endorse the White House community initiative and are excited to be on board in transforming the lives of Jamaican youth.

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