Members of the non-profit organization Give More HUGS (Help Unite Giving Souls), traveled to Dominica from November 13-20, 2015 for a service trip that looked to provide school supplies to different primary schools on the island as well as to build sustainable projects for quality education.
Students at Dublanc Primary, Sineku Primary, Coulibistrie Primary, Colihout Primary, Salybia Primary, Petite Savanne Primary, CALLS, and In.Light.In were some of the beneficiaries. Volunteers also had the opportunity to reunite with kids they used to mentor while living on the island.
Students and teachers from all school visits received t-shirts with the words ‘Dominica Strong’ to inspire courage and hope after the damages caused by Tropical Storm Erika.
‘Dominica Strong’ murals were also painted with 5th and 6th grade students at the school visits. They told volunteers what makes them Dominica Strong. The words they came up with inspired the team.
“The children of Dominica continue to inspire us! Many lost everything in Tropical Storm Erika, but they didn’t lose hope!” expressed Tara Jorski, Mentor Coordinator of Give More HUGS.
The service trip agenda included not only the individual school visits, but team leadership activities, literacy events to raise awareness, school supplies, art supplies, extracurricular activity equipment, and garden equipment donations.
“We donated garden equipment to Dublanc Primary School to help this community create a sustainable garden for the future,” said Christy Wallace, VP of Programs of the organization.
The activities accomplished by the Give More HUGS team in Dominica were the following:
1. Eight School Visits to promote the importance of education, facilitate teambuilding and compassion led activities and donation drop offs.
2. In addition to the school visits, we were able to provide medical relief to the Grange, Kalinago Clinic, and Portsmouth Hospital.
3. Build partnerships with schools for future projects.
Give More HUGS raised funds for the trip with donations through the website: Go Fund Me (http://www.gofundme.com/hugs4dominica).
“We felt the support of the community to this project and we are amazed. A few weeks before the trip we received a $1,000 donation from a high school connection that helped make this trip possible.” expressed Chris McGilvery, President and Founder of Give More HUGS.
Also, some stores like Walmart in New York and Astaphans in Dominica provided discount rates for paint and wooden boards used for the murals.
Give More HUGS’ team dreams that each student is granted the opportunity to obtain and actively participate in a quality education. They are planning a set of service trips for the upcoming years to ensure students in the US and the Caribbean have the supplies and support necessary to achieve their goals and dreams.
The idea of the Give More HUGS was born in Dominica in 2013, when its founder, Chris McGilvery, a Ross University’s spouse, realized the need for quality education. Several of his friends who also mentored students in Dominica inspired him to start a nonprofit organization that would provide educational resources, mentorships, extracurricular activity scholarships, and books with inspirational messages to promote the love for learning, reading, and creativity. Today, Give More HUGS contributes to quality education in many states in the US, as well as Dominica and Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. Give More HUGS’ members and volunteers believe that everyone should be afforded the opportunity to actively participate in all aspects of a quality education.