A business trip in Jamaica sure sounds like fun and it certainly was for SVP, Rich Harney, and Social Media Marketing Specialist, Leah Scheurer. But this trip was so much more! SSI, in partnership with The Sandals Foundation, teamed together to donate US$150,000 in supplies to schools in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean. This was especially meaningful, as it comes at a time when schools and communities are recovering from the impact of Hurricane Matthew!
The day started out at Beaches Negril, with a keynote address from Heidi Clarke, Director of Programs, who spoke about the mission of the Sandals Foundation and the positive charitable work done since 1981 to support communities throughout the Caribbean. With a focus on education, community and the environment, The Sandals Foundation has raised millions of dollars from individuals and corporations, all of whom share a common goal to help those in need. Following the opening remarks, our very own Rich Harney spoke about the role School Specialty plays in fostering education and meeting the mission-critical needs of schools and teachers throughout the U.S. and abroad. He then went on to reinforce our mission, vision and values and how School Specialty is more than just a company focused on numbers; and how our organization is committed to helping others, one of the key tenets of our corporate culture. Rich’s presentation was met with a standing ovation from the 100+ social media, “mommy-bloggers” in attendance, all of whom have a large social following and the reach to help make a difference.
The SSI team, along with Ms. Clarke, Liz Kaiser, Partnership Marketing Director and Karen Zacca, Project Coordinator, all with The Sandals Foundation, and close to 50 social media correspondents traveled to the Mt. Airy Primary School to deliver firsthand, backpacks with essential school supplies to help in Jamaica’s rebuilding efforts. The backpacks, which comprise assorted and carefully curated products following several discussions with teachers from the Island, include some of our well known and trusted brands, including Abilitations®, Califone®, Childcraft®, Classroom Select®, EPS®, Frey Scientific®, Premier™, Sax®, School Smart®, and Sportime® featuring SPARK™. Wow!!! The look on the children’s faces and the appreciation shown by Jamaica’s educators was outstanding. It’s times like this when we can all be proud of what we do at School Specialty and know just how important our Company is to millions of people around the world.