Passionate, inspiring, and resourceful. Those are the three words that came to mind when I met 14 year old Hannah Addington, an ambitious teen who loves to volunteer and make a difference everywhere she goes.
During her vacation at the Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos, Hannah visited and volunteered to read to children at a local school. She was so touched by the lack of resources for the kids she met that she came home and created a Go Fund Me account to raise money so the kids in that school would have the basic supplies they desperately need to thrive.
Hannah’s new mission was inspired thanks to her trip to Beaches Resorts as a part of their Beaches Teen Advisory Panel. This impressive group of teens participated in the Sandals Foundation Reading Road Trip where they had the opportunity to visit a local Turks and Caicos elementary school and promote literacy by reading to the children during their vacation.
Recently, while I participated in the Beaches Moms Social Media on the Sand Conference, I listened to Hannah speak about how her Reading Road Trip experience impacted her to do more. I loved seeing how passionate she is about helping the impoverished people who live on the island.
After Hannah’s presentation, I chatted with her about the beautiful fundraising work she is doing and how I could get involved beyond making my donation right away to her Go Fund Me Project.
My hope is that in reading her words you will be inspired to donate to her Go Fund Me Project and also share her story.
While vacationing at the Beaches Turks and Caicos what brought you to visit a local school on the island?
Hannah Addington: I got my first glimpse of what the education is like on Turks and Caicos in June, earlier this year. I was chosen to be on the Teen Advisory Panel in April and I was able to be apart of the first trip to Turk and Caicos is early June. One of the things we had the chance to do was be the first group to do a project with Island Impact Volunteenism program. The idea behind the Volunteenism program is to allow teens to give back while on vacation. Our project was to visit an elementary school and read to a class. I knew ahead of time that we were going to do something with a school, because all of the panelists were shipped backpacks to fill with school supplies and toys to bring with us on our trip.
Tell me about your experience arriving at the school and meeting the children.
HA: When we arrived at Lanthe Pratt Primary School, we were able to meet the principal and learn more about the school. There are 524 students ages 4 to 12 attending Lanthe Pratt.
My heart sank when I saw the condition of their school. Their playground was in need of a ton of repair. They had a swing set without swings and everything looked like it was ready to fall apart. Their lunch room was only a roof and some pillars which allows bugs and dirt to get into their food. Their classrooms were in need of updated and more adequate equipment and tools.
We were greeted with a room full of smiles when we walked into one of the second grade classes. We read them Fancy Nancy and Tangled. Every time we would finish a page of Tangled they would try to tell you the rest of the story, which made us all laugh, because their story telling was very imaginative.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to stay with the class long and had to leave right after we finished reading. We went to give the books to the students and they went crazy! It was like they had won the lottery or had just saved the world. They were jumping up and down and screaming, because they were so happy. This really made me understand how much I have and I don’t even realize it.
How did you feel as you left the school and headed back to the resort?
HA: When I got into the car I decided that at a minimum I would return soon and read to a class again and bring another backpack filled with school supplies and toys. Then when we got back to the resort, as I watched the Sandals Foundation’s video I almost started to cry. I had this feeling that I needed to do something more for students in Turks and Caicos. Even if I had to spread it out into multiple projects and a long period of time, I was determined to do something to help them.
What inspired you to work to raise money for the school and the kids there?
HA: The biggest thing that inspired me was my own experience. I am a very hands on person and I have to see something and get my hands dirty for it to really make an impact on me. The trip to Lanthe Pratt is something that really impacted me and has stuck with me.
My mom also really helped me think through my project. She helped me think more about how I wanted to help and how I wanted to go about executing the idea in my head. I would draw something out and make a list and then try to explain to her the blob of an idea that was in my head. She helped me think things through so the blob became a more organized plan. Her help really got me fired up and ready to get the project out there.
What will the money you raise go to fund?
HA: The money raised will go towards making five classroom kits. I chose the items in the kits off of the list I was given from the Sandals Foundation. Each kit has enough to supply one class of 20 students with necessary school supplies, basic first aid equipment, and recess equipment. These kits include:
- 60 pieces of chalk
- 500 pieces of colored construction paper
- 240 colored pencils
- 120 crayons
- Dry erase markers and white board eraser
- 20 pencil erasers
- 20 pencil sharpeners
- 200 markers
- 60 pencils
- 60 pens
- 20 rulers
- 20 solar calculators
- 20 flash drives
- 1 Frisbee
- 1 inflation pump
- 1 basket ball
- 1 soccer ball
- 36 tennis balls
- 144 antibiotic packets
- 280 band aids
What have you accomplished so far with your fundraising goals? How much more money are you looking to raise?
HA: My goal is to raise $2,250 ,which covers Go Fund Me’s processing fees, tax, and shipping costs. So far we have raised $1,135 in the past 3 months. This gets us just past the half way point, which is amazing! We still need $1,115 to go in order to read our goal.
When people go to your link and make a donation is it tax deductible?
HA: Unfortunately, it is not tax deductible. Since I am not a charity organization, my campaign for my project is viewed as a personal fundraiser, therefore donations are viewed as personal gifts.
How can others get involved?
HA: There is the obvious answer, which is to go to my Go Fund Me Project and donate! This is a way that people directly make an impact on someone’s life for the better. I also understand that times are tough and some people may want to help but can’t donate. Sharing the word is another great way to help. Helping , me get the word out is just as important as the donation it can bring. The more people that hear about my project the greater chance it will get done. Every bit helps more than you can imagine.
Photo Credits: iceportal.com