Giving Back

We are collecting funds for school supplies and fees to attend the Bunch of Stars E.C.I. School in Old Hope, Jamaica!

A good friend of ours (a native residing in Jamaica) has introduced us to Preschool Principal Shawlene of Bunch Of Stars E.C.I. School in the small town of Old Hope.  She was, at first, a bit shocked at the notion that we were interested in supporting her students. Ms. Shawlene had a sweet melody in her voice as she listed a few things the 3, 4, and 5-year-old students could use. I could hear in her voice she didn’t want to ask for much – and certainly not for everything she needed.  She said, “The children need pencils, books, and crayons – crayons make them happy.”

irie fundraiser1 Crayons. Something many children all over the world have shoeboxes full of – and never have to think twice about them. Crayons.

Ms. Shawlene also said there is a need for age appropriate CD’s for the students.

After our phone conversation I began to remember back to when my own children were school aged and it struck me how happy and excited they were when we went school supply shopping. Packs of pencils and paper; new erasers and notebooks; crayons and paints; glue sticks and glitter – all building blocks for creative expression! And then there were the backpacks! Oh, such a fine place to store all these brain-building treasures!

Our goal is two-fold:

  • Raise funds for school supplies.
    2. Raise funds for these youngsters to be able to attend school.

    Two Ways to Give:


Visit Our GoFundMe page to make a secure donation of $5 or more.    

The fee to attend school for a child this age is about $30 a term and there are three terms in a year (total $ 90USD/yr). In addition, lunch for each child is $1USD per day.  The average salary in Jamaica is less than $200 in USD a month. This puts a big financial strain on families. (imagine high school costs there which are about $150 USD a month!) Children throughout the world hunger for education and have the right to be educated. Many of these kids travel MILES on foot along the hectic roadways to attend school.

The Backstory of this campaign:

A few months ago, my husband and I took our first trip in 25 years without the kids and our destination was Jamaica.  Our goal was to experience the real Jamaica – not the touristy part. And that is exactly what we did.

Several things struck me from the moment we landed at the airport and went further away from the resort area: Residents do not have very much at all in the way of material things. Many make their living from crudely built roadside shacks. It is an extremely hard life when comparing it to where many of us come from. I saw no mother pushing a stroller and no Little Tikes toys in the front yards.

I did however stop and speak with a group of little boys playing cricket with some hand fashioned and improvised equipment in the street. We talked for a few minutes and I left them with a smile and some candy.  Here we were on a tropical island, our first vacation without our kids, and all we focused on were kids.  It was great!

Every single place we visited, from the Rastafarian villages, christian churches, and all faiths in between – to the secluded beaches and many street side shops – everyone (and I do mean everyone) was friendly and had an amazing attitude toward life. Having very little in terms of material things – every age and gender sported a smile and displayed an aura of happiness for their life. It was inspiring and amazing! Not once did I hear anyone complain.

irie heart projectI was fascinated with the schools there and watching these happy little children. Many walking miles along the insanely fast paced roadways to go home at the end of the school day. They have a strong desire to learn and do well, but the schools are in much need of support. All I could think of when we returned to Ohio was, “What can I do to make a difference?”

Although I am not of means to fund anything spectacular all by myself, I am well aware that with the help of others, WE can make a huge impact! So I’ve decided I’m going to help these wee ones in their thirst for knowledge by supporting a school.

I’ve decided to start my mission, and I pray you all join me in whatever way you can. The government there offers very minimal tuition help for families and honestly, does not have the funds to even maintain or properly supply the public schools. Much of the structural maintenance funding comes from outside sources / donors. Underprivileged children in rural and poor urban areas suffer greatly when it comes to having assessible quality education. Too many children (including the brightest and with the best hope for success in education) simply do not attend school because it is completely unaffordable. And that is so sad. We need to help these little ones get a good start and break the cycle! Let’s get these kids educationally healthy so that when they do advance to the higher grades, they will filter into the graces of the heavy hitters – the foundations that raise the big bucks for scholarships for these kids.

Please join me in making a difference in the life of a child. Together we can combine our small donations into making one BIG impact!

100% of all proceeds will be used for supplies, enrolling fees, and delivery of items/funds.

Any single act that you do intentionally – can change the world. Giving of ourselves, even when we have little, is a very spiritual act. It shapes us, it helps us see the world through fresh eyes. Let’s make the world a better place!
~ Sheila Burke, Founder of The Irie Project