DH | Rotary Club focuses on children this Christmas

Pupils enjoying their toys | Daily Herald

PHILIPSBURG–Since the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, Rotary Club St. Maarten has spent its time, effort and financial resources with a direct focus on the children on island.

The Club’s President John Caputo said on Friday, “It was a very conscious decision made by our Club after the hurricanes. We recognise that our children are the future of our island and the world, so it just seemed logical to focus on both the intermediate and long-term needs of our students, knowing that much immediate-term aid was available.

“We began by reaching out to our partners around the world and locally to make a difference by refocusing some of our standing community projects and by tackling some large projects directly related to the hurricanes.”

Rotary Club St. Maarten distributed under 800 dictionaries to all third-grade pupils in 17 different schools during October, November and early December. According to project chair Kishore Idnani, “This project has been a standing project for our Club for a just about a decade. There is something quite special when you watch a third-grader open a dictionary and learn how to use it properly.

The project was extra-special this year, as it represented a small step in the return of normalcy for the third-graders and for the Club. Caputo added, “The deep gratitude of our Club goes Shams and Anish Chugani, who help us make this project a reality year after year.”

Continuing its focus on the youth, Rotary Club turned its focus to Sister Marie Laurence School in Middle Region. The school was significantly damaged and looted after Hurricane Irma. Contributions from around the globe have been earmarked for Sister Marie Laurence School and, through partnership with Shams of Philipsburg, and the Caribbean Lottery, a new kitchen was installed at the school.

Club members held a Christmas Party for the pupils at school on December 15, along with a visit from Santa Claus, who helped spread Christmas cheer.

Rotary Club thanked and acknowledged its international partner, Rotary Club of Singer Island, Florida, for its very generous donation of 200 toy boxes that were distributed to the children at Sister Marie Laurence School, and Rotary Club of Huizen for its financial assistance.

Caputo continued, “And, if that wasn’t enough activity, many members of the Club gathered at the Dutch Quarter Community Centre on Saturday, December 16, for the annual Children’s Holiday Party sponsored by the Rotary Club of St. Maarten, Domino’s St. Maarten and many other companies and individuals that went above and beyond for more than 200 Dutch Quarter youngsters.”

Bob Barron donated his time and karaoke talents to lead everyone in Christmas carols, followed by a visit from the man in red, Santa Claus. Popcorn, face painting, cotton candy and the bouncing castle were also available for all the attendees, along with Domino’s pizza.

The contributions from Jump Up Casino Bingo festivities went a long way towards helping Santa and Rotary bring all these great toys to Dutch Quarter.

Rotary Club also thanked donors Jump Up Casino, Don Ation, Funtopia, Domino’s St. Maarten, Bob Barron, the Sochrin family of Island 92 Radio, Divico Distributors, Super Plaza, Affordable Store, Rotary Club of Singer Island, Florida, Rotary of St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada, Rotary Club of Huizen, Netherlands, and everyone who participated in all of its endeavours for 2017.

Bron: Daily Herald

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