A THANK YOU NOTE
What a positive and healing experience and a wonderful and successful event! It took a village and a huge amount of community efforts to make an event such as this, so great. The willingness of so many who assisted to benefit the children of St. Croix Montessori touched our hearts. Your help and outreach symbolized your investment in the future of our children. The entire staff of the St. Croix Montessori School expresses their deepest gratitude and a ginormous thank you for the generosity of several entities that made this project possible. We appreciate our sponsors, community members, anonymous donors, St. Croix Montessori parents and their families, and our numerous friends from near and far who were directly and indirectly involved in making the playground project a success and helping us meet our project goal of $30, 000. A very special thank you to our major sponsors, Play By Design, St. Croix Foundation and Concert For Island Relief Fund, Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) and VIYA. Other sponsors include:
- Atlantic Trucking
- Big Brothers, Big Sisters
- Brothers Brother Foundation
- Che Land Surveyors
- Children Museum of St. Croix
- Christmas Boat Parade
- Coco Cola
- Cost You Less
- Crescent Family Farm
- Echo Valley Tires
- Eleven Construction
- Food Town
- Gallows Bay Hardware
- Howard University
- J. Benton Construction
- La Roach College
- Lost Dog Pub
- Mo Mulching
- St. Croix Trading
- Top Quality Landscaping
- Tropical Shipping
- Paquitos Restaurant
- Plaza Extra East
- Plaza Extra West
When we reached out for help to rebuild our playground which was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, we received a plethora of positive responses from our local and global communities. Their donations and support meant to us that they understood the need and importance of educating children of this community. We believe that a safe, beautiful environment to play and grow is critically important as our island recovered from a disaster, the community support help make this a reality for the children. Maria Montessori said, “Play is the work of the child,” and after the destruction of our beautiful trees, we wanted our children to have a space for them to thrive.
PLAY BY DESIGN
Play By Design designs unique, community-built playgrounds. Luckily, St Croix Montessori School was selected as their 2018 Charitable Project. We are extremely proud and excited to be the first school in the Caribbean to be selected. Our community came together on March 7, 2018 to build the playground. Over the five (5) days of intense team work, parents, children, teachers, staff, and community volunteers come together to work with Play by Design’s experienced build team. Play By Design provided us with invaluable playground construction expertise throughout the project. Their engineering team, Lee Archin and Nate worked with our school to ensure that our playground met safety and accessibility codes, helped us obtain deeply discounted equipment, and to oversaw the community-build. We were all very excited to work with the Play by Design team.
PROJECT PREPARATION AND EXECUTION
Everyone played a part and had a significant role in the success of the preparation and execution of the build. The community-built process began with a committee of parent volunteers to organize and strategize the project. This committee consisted of the project leads Christina McPherson and Kristina Torres (head of school) and members, Cassandra King (food and child care coordinator), Gigi Evora (volunteer coordinator) and Jessie Huddleston (tools and materials coordinator).
The project leads were responsible for
The food coordinator was responsible for
The child care coordinator was responsible for
The tools and materials coordinator was responsible for
The parents played a phenomenal role in this project. Without them, the playground could not have been completed within the time frame allotted. They worked diligently and volunteered and contributed their times and services to do the following:
- Helped to build the playground
- Helped to serve, set-up and clean-up food site
- Helped with the volunteer check-in table
- Helped with childcare
- Prepared meals
- Provided food (snacks, fruits, vegetables, etc)
- Provided tools: loaned tools, bits, and supplies
- Oversaw tool distribution/collection
- Made monetary donations
The staff provided child care for working parents and volunteers. They also assisted in serving and preparing meals.
Elementary and Primary Children:
After the playground idea was confirmed, the children wanted to play a role in its development. They designed the playground through their eyes and prepared a menu to feed the volunteers breakfast. During the week of the build, the elementary children prepared scones, cinnamon buns, curried tofu, and pumpkin pudding for the volunteers. They also volunteered to serve breakfast and escorted the primary children to class after they were dropped off at the entrance. The children painted aprons for the volunteers and created and decorated sashes to identify the children volunteers on site. The primary children also played a role in this event. They prepared granola as a breakfast snack for the volunteers.
After an intense five days of work, the children , the children run out to play on the new playground during an opening celebration.
We had an Indian Luncheon, made by local farmers at Crescent Farms, and in honor of our Taste of India tradition.