Building for Tomorrow Fundraising Campaign
|Written by Barbara Hyland|
|Saturday, 10 February 2007 04:37|
|The goal of the Building for Tomorrow fundraising project is to provide funding for educational projects for young people in Vieques. We believe that by helping young people reach their potential through university and college scholarships, by teaching them transferable skills and by providing opportunities for meaningful professional employment, we can help build a better future for Vieques.
“Science books are some of the most expensive used in the university” said Brendymar Cruz Torres , a recipient of one of the scholarships administered by the The Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust. “The Trust scholarship was the determining factor in allowing me to carry out my studies in two concentrations: microbiology and biotechnology.” Brendymar continued. “Without this assistance I wouldn’t have been able to do this.” She is enrolled at Universidad Interamericana-Recinto de Fajardo and is hoping that her studies will lead her to a career in medicine. She plans to return to Vieques “to help others as I have been helped” she said.
“The economic assistance offered by the Trust reflects its commitment not only for the environment but also to the development of professionals who, in the future, will be able to return to Vieques to pursue their careers while helping the island”.
Barbara Hyland, the president of the VCHT explained that the VCHT was taking on the responsibility of raising $250,000 this year in order to provide direct assistance to students as well as to provide money for other educational related activities of the trust. Ms Hyland continued “The VCHT believes that by helping young people reach their potential through university and college scholarships, by teaching them transferable skills and by providing opportunities for meaningful professional employment for young people, we can build a better future for Vieques and Viequenses. The 2007 Building for Tomorrow fundraising campaign commenced last week with an anonymous donation of $20,000.”
The fundraising team will consist of a group of people dedicated to the view that education is the key to the future of Vieques.
The Building for Tomorrow project will be co-chaired by Barbara Hyland, the president of the VCHT and Burr Vail, a leading Viequense resident and owner of Hacienda Tamarindo. The other team members include Tom Wright, former vice-president of Princeton and member of the VCHT advisory council; Sheila Levin, Vieques real estate professional; and Elí Beléndez, co-owner of the Crow’s Nest resort and treasurer of the VCHT; Liz O’Dell, leading community member and assistant treasurer of the VCHT; and Min Flemer, long-time member and supporter of the VCHT.
All projects are funded through the use of restricted funds; that is, the funding for specific projects is not commingled with the general funds of the Trust. The day to day operations of the Trust are funded through the volunteer-staffed Gift Shop and internet service and special events throughout the year, as well as donations from our members and the public. As well, we received funding from NOAA to support our educational projects, and for the publication of two books.
Financial statements are available.
Marine Life Exhbit
The Marine Life Exhibit was set up to help visitors and Viequenses understand the fragile environment in which we live and to appreciate the wealth of marine life in our surrounding waters. Through hands-on demonstrations and informal chats, several thousand visitors each year, including school children from Vieques and the main island of Puerto Rico, have achieved a closer understanding of the marine environment.
As part of this project, we employ one full time leader (Mark Martin) and several part time students, including interns from universities and colleges and schools in PR and from the US.
We have an outreach program that provides lectures and workshops for the local schools.
The objectives of the program are to help students explore the historical, cultural and environmental aspects of Vieques while learning a number of skills, including responsibility and respect for the environment. The students work to clean up beaches, install signs identifying trees, study the sugar cane industry and travel to sites within Vieques and the main island. A number of participants from the 2006 program will serve as young leaders in the 2007 program.
The pilot project in 2006 was a great success and we are now acceopting applications for the 2007 program.
Bioluminescent Bay Room
The Bio-Bay Room is being developed as a unique exhibition to demonstrate bioluminescence. Funded in part by NOAA, this interactive exhibit will help Viequenses and visitors better understand the phenomenon of bioluminescence. The display will be interactive and we will employ Mark Martin and other young Viequenses to provide demonstrations. Dr. Barbara Bernache-Baker has contacts within the scientific community who have provided advice and assistance with this project. We are planning a symposium on bioluminescence in the spring of 2007, bringing together scientists from the University of Puerto Rico, and from leading universities in the U.S. The Trust has become a center where visiting scientists meet and exchange information on research projects.
Established in 2005, this program provides scholarships for Viequense students who wish to pursue post-secondary education. Currently three students have been awarded scholarships of $1000 per year for the duration of their studies. There are two scholarships — one for general studies and one specifically for students who wish to pursue a career in the sciences. A committee of Viequense community leaders and educators, along with the president of the Trust, manages the application process.
We would like to expand the program by offering more scholarships, by increasing the value of the scholarships and by providing funding for travel.
For more information, please contact Barbara Hyland at email@example.com